Tom Price (American politician)

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Tom Price
Tom Price official photo.jpg
23rd United States Secretary of Health and Human Services
Assumed office
February 10, 2017
President Donald Trump
Deputy Eric Hargan (nominee)
Preceded by Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Chair of the House Budget Committee
In office
January 3, 2015 – January 3, 2017
Preceded by Paul Ryan
Succeeded by Diane Black
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 6th district
In office
January 3, 2005 – February 10, 2017
Preceded by Johnny Isakson
Succeeded by Karen Handel
Member of the Georgia Senate
from the 56th district
In office
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2005
Preceded by Sallie Newbill
Succeeded by Dan Moody
Personal details
Born Thomas Edmunds Price
(1954-10-08) October 8, 1954 (age 62)
Lansing, Michigan, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Betty Clark
Children 1
Education University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (BA, MD)
Net worth $10 million[1]

Thomas Edmunds Price (born October 8, 1954) is an American orthopedic physician, politician, and the 23rd United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. Price was the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 6th congressional district, encompassing the northern suburbs of Atlanta from 2005 until he resigned in 2017 to become Health Secretary. Price served as chairman of the House Budget Committee,[2] and had previously served as chairman of the Republican Study Committee and the Republican Policy Committee.[3][4]

On November 29, 2016, Price was nominated for United States Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) by President-elect Donald Trump.[5] The Senate confirmed Price in a 52–47 vote on February 10, 2017.[6]

Early life, education, and medical career[edit]

Price was born in Lansing, Michigan, and grew up in Dearborn, where he attended Adams Jr. High and Dearborn High School.[7][8]

He received his B.A. (1975) and M.D. (1979) degrees from the University of Michigan.[7] He completed his residency at Emory University in Atlanta, and settled in the suburb of Roswell, Georgia.[9]

He ran an orthopedic clinic in Atlanta for 20 years before returning to Emory as assistant professor of orthopedic surgery. Price also was the director of the orthopedic clinic at Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital.[10]

Price is a former member of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), a politically conservative non-profit association founded in 1943 to "fight socialized medicine and to fight the government takeover of medicine."[11][12] The AAPS opposes Medicare and mandatory vaccination. Price is also a member of the American Medical Association.[13]

Georgia Senate (1996–2005)[edit]

Elections and results[edit]

In 1996, Price was the Republican nominee for Georgia's 56th senate district after Republican State Senator Sallie Newbill decided not to run for re-election. In the November general election, he defeated Democrat Ellen Milholland 71%–29%.[14] In a 1998 rematch, he won re-election to a second term by defeating Milholland by a margin of 75%–25%.[15] In 2000 and 2002, he won re-election to a third and fourth term unopposed.[16][17]

Committee memberships[edit]

During his tenure as state senator, Price served on the committees for Appropriations, Economic Development and Tourism, Education, Ethics, Health and Human Services, Insurance and Labor, Reapportionment and Redistricting, and Rules.[18]

U.S. House of Representatives (2005–2017)[edit]


Price in 2005

In 2004, U.S. Congressman Johnny Isakson of Georgia's 6th congressional district decided not to run for re-election in order to run for the U.S. Senate. Six other Republican candidates filed to run, most notably state senators Robert Lamutt and Chuck Clay. Price was the only major candidate from Fulton County, while Lamutt and Clay were both from Cobb County. On July 20, 2004, Price ranked first with 35% of the vote, but failed to reach the 50% threshold needed to win the Republican nomination. Lamutt qualified for the run-off, ranking second with 28% of the vote. Price won two of the district's three counties: Fulton with 63% and Cherokee with 35%. Cobb with 31% of the vote.[19] In the August 10 run-off election, Price defeated Lamutt 54%–46%. They split the vote in Cherokee, but Price carried Fulton by a landslide of 79% of the vote. Lamutt couldn't eliminate that deficit as he won Cobb with just 59% of the vote.[20] Price won the general election unopposed.[21][22]


In 2006, Price drew one primary challenger, John Konop, whom he defeated 82%–18%.[23] In November, he won re-election to a second term with 72% of the vote.[24]


Price won re-election in 2008 (68%),[25] 2010 (99.9%),[26] and 2012 (65%).[27]


Price won the election in 2016 against Rodney Stooksbury (Democratic), receiving 61.6% of the vote.[28]

Voting record and political views[edit]


Congressman Price speaking at the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)

In response to questions as to whether or not vaccines cause autism, Price stated in January 2017 “I think the science in that instance is that it does not”.[29] Price said in March 2017 that it should be up to individual states to determine whether vaccinations should be required.[30]

Price introduced his first post-Obamacare bill as early as 2009, thereafter reintroducing updated versions in every Congress since that point.[31] In May 2015, as House Budget Committee chairman, Price released health care legislation which was described by Bill Kristol of the National Review as "the strongest Obamacare alternative offered in Congress to date." Greg Sargent of the Washington Post wrote "it's good to have a fleshed out plan, because it helps clarify the differences between the parties on health reform." Sargent also wrote that "GOP reforms would likely translate into lower-quality plans and a coverage expansion that would benefit fewer people. But that would be the trade-off Republicans would make to achieve their goal of less government spending and interference in the market than that which occurs under Obamacare."[32] Price voted to repeal portions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 on multiple occasions.[33][34]

Price voted against the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, a law that for the first time gave the Food & Drug Administration regulatory jurisdiction over tobacco products, i.e. the power to regulate tobacco as a drug.[35] The law, passed in 2009, "mark[ed] a significant benchmark in how aggressive a role the United States government wants to take in cigarette regulation."[36]


Price opposes abortion and supported the proposed Protect Life Act of 2011, which would have denied Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) funding to health care plans that offered abortion (the PPACA already prevented public funding covering abortions) and allowed hospitals to decline to provide abortions.[37][38] The bill excludes cases where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest and in cases where a woman suffers from a medical issue that would place her at risk of death unless an abortion is performed.[39]

Price co-sponsored the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Health Care Conscience Rights Act.[40]

He was rated at 100 by the National Right to Life Center. He was rated at 0 by Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.[41] He participated in the 2011 March for Life.[42]

Price voted against federal funding of groups such as Planned Parenthood.[35] Price has said that the birth-control coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act violated religious freedoms and suggested that it is not necessary because all women can afford birth control.[43]

Gun policy[edit]

Price opposes gun control. He praised the Supreme Court's decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller, which found that the absolute prohibition of handguns in the District of Columbia was unconstitutional, and McDonald v. Chicago, which stated that the Second Amendment applied to the states.[44] He was given an "A" grade by the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund, a 92% approval rating overall from the National Rifle Association and an 83% approval rating[45] from the Gun Owners of America, and a 0% approval rating from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.[46]

Gay rights[edit]

Price voted against a bill prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation.[35] He voted in favor of constitutionally defining marriage as one man and one woman.[35] Price voted against H.R. 2965, which would have ended Don't ask, don't tell.[35] In 2006, he received a 0% rating by the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization.[47]

Farming and environmental regulation[edit]

Price does not support federal regulation of farming. He has voted against regulating and restricting farmers, earning him a 70% from the American Farm Bureau Federation and a 0% approval rate from the National Farmers Union.[48] He supported the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act, stating that it would keep the Environmental Protection Agency from applying too many regulations to farming and ranching.[49] He also voted for the Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2012 which, had it become law, would have made supplemental agricultural disaster assistance available, if needed.[50][51]

In 2008, Price signed a pledge sponsored by Americans for Prosperity promising to vote against any global warming legislation that would raise taxes.[52]

Foreign policy[edit]

Price voted to extend the Patriot Act.[53][54] Price voted against a resolution which would force the president to withdraw American forces from Iraq.[55]

Economic policy[edit]

In 2011, Price voted to reduce non-security discretionary spending to 2008 levels[56][57][58] (and subsequently voted against several amendments offered via motions to recommit with instructions).[59]

In 2013, he was the main sponsor of the Require a PLAN Act (mandating that the President identify a fiscal year in which the budget will be balanced).[60][61] He voted for the No Budget, No Pay Act[62][63] and a resolution establishing a budget for the United States Government for FY 2014 that passed the House of Representatives.[64] In 2011, Price voted to prohibit federal funding of National Public Radio.[65] Price voted to terminate the Emergency Mortgage Relief Program.[66] Price voted to reduce federal spending and the deficit by terminating taxpayer financing of presidential election campaigns and party conventions.[67]

Legislation sponsored by Price[edit]

Price speaking on a panel about healthcare at the 2014 CPAC

Price is the sponsor of the Empowering Patients First Act (EPFA), which he first introduced in the 111th Congress and has reintroduced in each Congress since then. Originally intended to be a Republican alternative to Democratic efforts to reform the health care system, it has since been positioned by Price and other Republicans as a potential replacement to the PPACA. The bill, among other things, creates and expands tax credits for purchasing health insurance, allows for some interstate health insurance markets, and reforms medical malpractice lawsuits.

Price introduced the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act of 2013 (H.R. 1874; 113th Congress) on May 8, 2013.[68] The bill would require the Congressional Budget Office to provide a macroeconomic impact analysis for bills that are estimated to have a large budgetary effect.[69] Price said it was necessary because of the Congressional Budget Office's current method of reviewing bills just to see what they would cost. Price said "that is a model that has proven to be incapable of providing the type of macroeconomic diagnosis folks need to make sure we are pursuing policies that will help generate economic opportunity and bring down the nation's debt."[70] H.R. 1874 has passed the House but has yet to become law.

Committee assignments[edit]

Secretary of Health and Human Services[edit]

Price's official Trump Transition portrait

On November 29, 2016, Price was nominated for United States Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) by President Donald Trump.[5] On February 1, 2017, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee approved his nomination by a vote of 11–0 with all Democrats boycotting the vote, sending the nomination to the Senate floor.[72] On February 10, 2017, the Senate confirmed Price in a 52–47 vote.[6]

In March 2017, Price endorsed the American Health Care Act, a bill proposed by House Republicans that would repeal the individual mandate and make several other major changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[73] When the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the American Health Care Act would insure 24 million fewer Americans than the Affordable Care Act by 2026 and reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion in the same span, Price said he disagreed "strenuously" with the report and found it "not believable".[74]

In April 2017, reporter Dan Heyman was arrested by West Virginia police for "aggressively breaching Secret Service agents" and "causing a disturbance by yelling questions" related to proposed healthcare legislation at Price and Kellyanne Conway. [75] Price said the arrest was "not my decision to make".[76]

In September 2017, Politico found that since May 2017, Price had accumulated over $400,000 in charter jet spending for official business.[77] Many of the flights were between cities that were easily accessed by train or car, and that had frequent, low-cost airline traffic.[78][79] Five Democratic members of Congress requested an inspector general's investigation into Price's use of private aircraft.[80][81] Price's use of private planes was legal but was criticized by ethics experts as a misuse of taxpayer funding.[79] Price's spokesperson justified Price's use of private jets as a reasonable precaution, given that Price was once unable to attend an important meeting because a commercial flight was cancelled; ''Politico'' noted that the flight in question was cancelled because air travel had been virtually shut down in the region in question at the time, preventing even private jets from taking off.[82] As a congressman in 2009, Price had criticized the use of private jets by government officials as "fiscal irresponsibility run amok."[83][82] Following Politico's reporting on the matter, Price said that he would stop taking taxpayer-funded private jet flights pending a formal review by his department's inspector general.[77]

Investment activity[edit]

In 2015-2016, according to congressional financial disclosures, Price purchased shares totaling between $60,000 and $110,000 in value in Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biotech company. Innate has no approved drugs and one multiple sclerosis drug in trial. Price participated in a private placement of more shares in August 2016, paying $.25 and $.34 per share. Price invested between $50,000 and $100,000. On January 13, 2017, the shares were valued at $1.31, giving Price an unrealized gain of 300%–400% in a 6-month period. Price announced plans to sell several health care investments, including Innate, upon his confirmation as HHS Secretary.[84]

On January 16, 2017, CNN reported that Price had purchased shares in Zimmer Biomet, a medical devices company.[85] Zimmer Biomet is an S&P 500 component, in that every S&P 500 ETF and numerous mutual funds often trade Zimmer Biomet.[86] Price had a diversified, broker-directed portfolio of hundreds of stocks in which investment decisions were made by a Morgan Stanley financial advisor, and that advisor had purchased these shares, in addition to approximately 70 other stocks, as a part of a periodic portfolio re-balancing.[86] Less than a week after the stock purchase, Price introduced legislation, the HIP Act, that would delay a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regulation until 2018. Industry analysts had warned that those regulations would significantly hurt the company's finances. Following the introduction of the HIP Act, Zimmer Biomet's political action committee made a donation to Price's reelection campaign.[85]

When questioned about his financial dealings during his confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate on January 18, 2017, Price said, "[e]verything that we have done has been above-board, transparent, ethical, and legal."[87]

In March 2017, ProPublica reported that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara had been investigating Price's stock trades prior to Bharara's dismissal from his post by Donald Trump. Price said that he had not received any indication of a federal investigation into his stock trades.[88][89]

Personal life[edit]

Price and his wife Betty reside in Roswell, and have one child, Robert Price.[90] Betty served on the Roswell City Council and was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in a 2015 special election to succeed the late Harry Geisinger.[91] Price is a Presbyterian.[40]

He is a past President of the Roswell Rotary Club and has served on the Board of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce.[92]

As of 2014, Price was estimated to have a net worth of $13.6 million.[93]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ "Budget Committee Members". United States House Committee on the Budget. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  3. ^ Lillis, Mike (February 19, 2011). "GOP policy leader Price: 'More cuts and more reforms are on the way'". The Hill. 
  4. ^ Harper, Charlie (November 18, 2010). "Tom Price Elected Chairman Of House Republican Policy Committee". Peach Pundit. 
  5. ^ a b "Trump picks Congressman Tom Price as health and human services secretary". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-11-29. 
  6. ^ a b "PN33 - Nomination of Thomas Price for Department of Health and Human Services, 115th Congress (2017-2018)". 2017-02-10. Retrieved 2017-03-06. 
  7. ^ a b "Trump’s pick for health chief is a Lansing native". Detroit News. Retrieved 2017-03-06. 
  8. ^ "Department of Health and Human Services: Who Is Tom Price?". AllGov. Retrieved 2017-03-06. 
  9. ^ "Candidate: Betty Clark Price". Appen Media Group. Retrieved 2017-03-06. 
  10. ^ Morrow, Brendan (2016-11-29). "Tom Price: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Retrieved 2017-03-06. 
  11. ^ Pierce, Charles P. (September 29, 2015). "The GOP's Search for a New House Majority Leader Is a Race to the Bottom". Esquire. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  12. ^ Meier, Barry (January 18, 2011). "Vocal Physicians Group Renews Health Law Fight". Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  13. ^ Tom Price belongs to a doctors group with unorthodox views on government and health care, By Amy Goldstein, Washington Post, February 9, 2017
  14. ^ "GA State Senate 56 Race - Nov 05, 1996". Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 19, 2016. 
  15. ^ "GA State Senate 56 Race - Nov 03, 1998". Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 19, 2016. 
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  17. ^ "GA State Senate 056 Race - Nov 05, 2002". Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 19, 2016. 
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  31. ^ Apothecary, The. "Price's Empowering Patients First Act Gets Better with Age". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-03-07. 
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  33. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 9: H RES 26",, January 7, 2011.
  34. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 10: H RES 26",, January 7, 2011.
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  36. ^ "Penn State Law Review Online Companion Penn State Law Review". Retrieved 2017-03-07. 
  37. ^ Bassett, Laura (October 13, 2011). "House Passes Controversial Anti-Abortion Bill". The Huffington Post. 
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  39. ^ Greenberg, Julia (October 13, 2011). "House Passes ‘Protect Life Act,’ Controversial Anti-Abortion Funding Bill". International Business Times. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  40. ^ a b Joan Frawley Desmondy (January 20, 2017). "Tom Price, Trump’s Pick for HHS Secretary, Could Define Administration’s Legacy". National Catholic Register. 
  41. ^ "Tom Price's Ratings and Endorsements on Issue: Abortion". Vote Smart. Retrieved November 19, 2016. 
  42. ^ "Price Statement on March for Life". Vote Smart. Retrieved November 19, 2016. 
  43. ^ OLGA KHAZAN (November 29, 2016). "Tom Price: 'Not One' Woman Struggled to Afford Birth Control". The Atlantic. 
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  48. ^ "Tom Price's Ratings and Endorsements on Issue: Agriculture and Food". Vote Smart. Retrieved November 19, 2016. 
  49. ^ "Price Statement on House Passage of Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act". Vote Smart. Retrieved November 19, 2016. 
  50. ^ "Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2012 (2012 - H.R. 6233)". 
  51. ^ "HR 6233 - Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2012 - Voting Record". Vote Smart. Retrieved November 19, 2016. 
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  73. ^ CNN, Lauren Fox and Deirdre Walsh. "Republicans unveil bill to repeal Obamacare". CNN. Retrieved 2017-03-14. 
  74. ^ "White House calls CBO health care report bogus". POLITICO. Retrieved 2017-03-14. 
  75. ^ "Reporter arrested for asking Tom Price if domestic violence is a pre-existing condition under Trumpcare". Think Progress. Retrieved 2017-05-10. 
  76. ^ Schmidt, Samantha (May 11, 2017). "HHS secretary says police ‘did what they felt was appropriate’ in arresting a West Virginia journalist". Washington Post. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  77. ^ a b Diamond, Dan (September 23, 2017). "Tom Price to halt taxpayer-funded travel on private jets". Politico. Retrieved 25 September 2017. 
  78. ^ Pradhan, Rachana; Diamond, Dan (September 21, 2017). "Price traveled by private plane at least 24 times". Politico. Retrieved 25 September 2017. 
  79. ^ a b Diamond, Dan; Pradhan, Rachana (September 19, 2017). "Price’s private-jet travel breaks precedent". Politico. Retrieved 25 September 2017. 
  80. ^ Pradhan, Rachana (September 20, 2017). "Democrats request inspector general investigate Price's use of charter planes". Politico. Retrieved 25 September 2017. 
  81. ^ Davis, Aaron C. (2017-09-22). "How Tom Price decided chartered, private jets were a good use of taxpayer money". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-09-22. 
  82. ^ a b "New details cast doubt on why Tom Price needed a private jet". POLITICO. Retrieved 2017-09-23. 
  83. ^ Pramuk, Jacob (2017-09-20). "Tom Price, who reportedly used costly private jets, once slammed government planes as 'fiscal irresponsibility run amok'". CNBC. Retrieved 2017-09-22. 
  84. ^ Kate, Thomas (January 13, 2017). "Australian Drug Maker Has Low Profile but Powerful Backers in Washington". New York Times. Retrieved 2017-01-15. 
  85. ^ a b Raju, Manu (January 17, 2017). "First on CNN: Trump's Cabinet pick invested in company, then introduced a bill to help it". CNN. 
  86. ^ a b Hartley, Jon. "How The Latest Stock Trading Allegations Against Tom Price Are Completely Unfounded". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-03-07. 
  87. ^ Lee, MJ; Luhby, Tammy (January 18, 2017). "HHS nominee Tom Price says financial dealings were legal". CNN. Retrieved January 18, 2017. 
  88. ^ Faturechi, Robert (March 17, 2017). "Fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Said to Have Been Investigating HHS Secretary Tom Price". ProPublica. Retrieved March 23, 2017. 
  89. ^ Faturechi, Robert (March 31, 2017). "Tom Price Intervened on Rule That Would Hurt Drug Profits, the Same Day He Acquired Drug Stock". ProPublica. Retrieved April 9, 2017. 
  90. ^ "Tom Price Bio". Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  91. ^ Frye, Katherine (July 14, 2015). "Price wins District 48 election". Neighborhood Newspapers. 
  92. ^ "The Arena Rep. Tom Price". Politico. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  93. ^ OpenSecrets: Tom Price

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Sallie Newbill
Member of the Georgia Senate
from the 56th district

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Johnny Isakson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
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