On the same day that U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) testified before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on his nomination to be secretary of health and human services in the Trump administration, the AFT joined with progressive allies—Planned Parenthood, Credo and National Physicians Alliance—to deliver more than 500,000 petitions urging legislators to oppose Price's nomination.
AFT member Bernie Gerard (pictured above), a registered nurse and vice-president of Health Professionals and Allied Employees in New Jersey, was part of the diverse delegation of organizations that hand-delivered the 500,000 petitions to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the committee's ranking Democrat, on Jan. 18.
AFT President Randi Weingarten also sent a letter to members of the Senate and HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), calling on them to vote against Price's confirmation. Weingarten pointed to Price's record during his tenure in Congress, which "demonstrates that he intends to strip access to healthcare for millions of Americans. His agenda includes privatizing Medicare and block-granting Medicaid, repealing the Affordable Care Act, increasing medical debt, limiting the authority of nurses and health professionals, denying healthcare services to women, and not supporting key early childhood programs under the jurisdiction of HHS."
In delivering the petitions, Gerard noted that "AFT health professionals and educators take care of the health and well-being of our communities. We know that treatment is more difficult—and more expensive—when patients delay care because they can't afford it."
"Eliminating the protections and coverage provided by the ACA, privatizing Medicare, and block-granting Medicaid threaten the health of millions of America's families, and threaten our hospitals and state budgets, too," he said. "We simply can't afford the high cost of Tom Price as secretary of health and human services."