At today's Senate confirmation hearing for Georgia representative Tom Price, President-elect Donald Trump's pick to run the Department of Health and Human Services, senators grilled Price on his investments, his plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, and whether or not he believes women's access to contraception should be protected. But one glaring issue that will impact more than 10 million Americans was left entirely out of the conversation.
What the members of the committee did not to ask Price was whether he would uphold anti-discrimination measures in the Affordable Care Act that protect LGBTQ Americans from being denied health care based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. According to several prominent studies, LGBTQ people face significantly higher barriers to health care, including discrimination from insurance companies and medical providers. The Affordable Care Act's measures gave them a solid basis on which to fight for coverage and equal treatment.
Price has a clear anti-LGBTQ record: in 2007 he introduced a bill to ban same-sex marriage, voted against an employment non-discrimination bill, and against a bill to provide federal funds for anti-LGBTQ hate crimes investigations. He called the Obama administration's guidance to schools encouraging them to allow transgender students to access bathrooms that align with their gender identity "absurd" and an "abuse and overreach of power."
None of these issues were raised at today's confirmation hearing. And while the committee covered a lot of ground on other issues, their silence on LGBTQ rights meant that Price did not have to answer to the millions of LGBTQ Americans whose health care could soon be in his hands.
Price will go before the Senate Finance committee on Jan. 24, which will vote on his confirmation.