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Trump's Pick to Lead Nation's Health Services Is Terrifying

Appointment of Tom Price to Lead HHS Poses Major Threat to Millions of LGBTQ People

We can stop Tom Price from leading the Department of Health and Human Services, writes Candace Bond-Theriault of the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund.

As I'm a black queer woman who is married to a man, my body represents the intersection of LGBTQ liberation, reproductive rights, and racial justice. Just like so many of you, my future is directly affected each time an anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ white nationalist is appointed to lead an entire federal department.

The movement to secure full freedom, justice, and equality for LGBTQ people must include access to adequate and affordable healthcare, inclusive of reproductive health. However, our health and freedom to make decisions relating to our reproductive health are at risk. Today, in this new reality, the health of our nation, the fight for bodily autonomy and the ability to create the families of our choosing are all at stake. If Republican Congressman Tom Price of Georgia becomes the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, my future and all of our futures will be at risk. The price of compromising my health and well-being is too steep.

We know that Congressman Price opposes LGBTQ liberation. Last year Price called the Supreme Court's 2015 marriage equality decision "a sad day for marriage," supported a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and even voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which allocates additional federal resources to investigate and prosecute crimes that are based on a victim's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Price is a staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act, including the hard-won contraceptive coverage mandate and the first-ever nondiscrimination in health care provision that ensures individuals cannot be discriminated against in the acquisition of health care based on sex or gender identity. Price, who is against the constitutional right to abortion afforded by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, also plans to strip Planned Parenthood of all federal funding. He received a 0 out of 100 rating from NARAL, an organization that scores reproductive rights-related legislation. If that is not bad enough, he also wants to gut Medicare and Medicaid, a move that will detrimentally impact the health of millions of Americans, especially those living with low incomes and our LGBTQ elders, who rely on these lifesaving programs every day. He will also be in charge of the Children's Health Insurance Program, and far too many LGBTQ homeless youth will be directly affected if Price is able to control their health.

Among the Latinx community, at least 4 million people could become uninsured if the ACA is repealed. The rate of uninsured would likely double among Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders to 19.4 percent and cost an estimated 24 million people their health coverage. The repeal of the ACA would also have a devastating impact among black women, who are experiencing high rates of maternal and infant mortality and are in dire need of a healthcare system that works for them and places their lives first.

Let's be quite clear: If Price is confirmed, his decisions will impact the health and social services of millions of people -- especially the most underserved populations who rely on access to quality, affordable, culturally competent care.

We need an HHS secretary who will not cost us our health. That's why we're calling on everyone to take action now. Price still has to be confirmed by the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee before he can become the director of HHS. Now is the time to call the members of both committees and urge them to vote against confirming Tom Price as HHS secretary. Together we can ensure that LGBTQ, reproductive, and racially competent health care remains at the forefront of our nation's health policy, but we must remain vigilant, and most importantly, we must speak now.

CANDACE BOND-THERIAULT is policy counsel for reproductive justice at the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund.

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Candace Bond-Theriault