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Flat Earth Medicine in Charge at Health & Human Services (& Washington Post Ignoring the Issue)

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PEOTUS Trump has named Representative Tom Price (R-GA) to be his nominee to be the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS). As a quick look, he seems ever so reasonable: he is a surgeon (e.g., medical knowledge & experience) and has actually worked on legislation to fulfill the ‘kill ObamaCare’ Republican mantra.  With that evidently in mind and driving their thinking, The Washington Post editorial board came out full-throttle calling out those expressing plans to oppose his nomination, stating that

“the nomination itself does not warrant Senate opposition” …

“He is qualified to serve in the Cabinet.” and

“Democrats should not object to him simply because they dislike the direction he wants to take health-care policy.”

For PEOTUS, for the shallowly thought through ‘repeal Obamacare but keep its popular elements’ is a key plank, Price clearly makes sense.  He has authored the most substantive (al beit disgusting and threatening to Americans’ health and prosperity) House Republican ‘replacement’ bill for Obamacare.  And, that is a core point in The Post‘s editorial:

“Mr. Price is a longtime member of Congress who has shown a particular interest in health-care policy. Though we disagree strongly with his Obamacare replacement plan, he at least fleshed out his proposal with numbers and legislative text.”

Now, The Post follows the ‘he is qualified’ with a sentence describing legitimate grounds for opposing a Presidential nominee:

“Opposing executive confirmations should be an option reserved for truly exceptional circumstances: when nominees are simply unqualified or threaten more fundamental American values.”

Whether seeking to normalize the #NotNormal or the result of sloppy background reporting/investigation, The Post‘s editorial board seems to have totally missed (and fails to discuss in this long editorial) key Price resume points that make clear that Price does “threaten more fundamental American values”.

Price is a leading member of the deceptively entitled Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). Scott Mandia, leveraging Donald Trump’s favorite communication tool, (sadly too) accurately summarized AAPS in far less than 140 characters.

How is AAPS Flat Earth?

despite the lab coats and the official-sounding name, the docs of the AAPS are hardly part of mainstream medical society. Think Glenn Beck with an MD. The group has been around since 1943. Some of its former leaders were John Birchers, and its political philosophy comes straight out of Ayn Rand. … The AAPS statement of principles declares that it is “evil” and “immoral” for physicians to participate in Medicare and Medicaid, and its journal is a repository for quackery. Its website features claims that tobacco taxes harm public health and electronic medical records are a form of “data control” like that employed by the East German secret police. An article on the AAPS website speculated that Barack Obama may have won the presidency by hypnotizing voters, especially cohorts known to be susceptible to “neurolinguistic programming”—that is, according to the writer, young people, educated people, and possibly Jews.

Consider the HHS mission and organizations like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) with a mandate to protect Americans’ health … And, then consider that Price is signed onto an anti-science organization that decries immunizations for medical personnel, attacks evidence-based medicine, …

Now, is Tom Price and the AAPS one and the same?  Uncertain as we do not really know Price’s true allegiance to and agreement with AAPS and the material it publishes. As put here,

Tom Price probably doesn’t buy into all the quackery of the AAPS, but my reading thus far leads me to believe that he fully embraces the and Ayn Rand-worshiping wingnuttery the organization. … However, you can learn a lot about a person by the people with whom he associates and the groups he joins and supports. By joining the AAPS, Price has shown that he is clearly attracted to a pre-Medicare vision of a golden era of absolute physician autonomy with minimal or no government interference or programs like Medicare, as well as a hostility towards evidence that conflicts with that vision. There is no arguing this, as these are beliefs that are baked into the DNA of the AAPS; they are central to the organization. Attraction to such beliefs is not a good trait for a Secretary of HHS to be attracted to, and I haven’t even really gotten into Price’s fundamentalist antiabortion beliefs, and his implacable opposition to gun control. It’s going to be a long four years when it comes to health policy.

Let us be clear, until Price makes clear his level of allegiance to AAPS, AAPS’ off-the-charts anti-science approach to medicine certainly seems to meet The Post‘s standard for why one could/should oppose a nominee.