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Toledo Blade: Sen. Sherrod Brown says he’ll vote against Trump’s HHS secretary pick

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) today declared his opposition to President Trump’s nominee of U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R., Ga.) as secretary of Health and Human Services.

Mr. Brown said the nominee has in the past supported privatizing Medicare and raising the retirement eligibility age. He said Mr. Price also voted against the Children’s Health Insurance Program which insures more than 130,000 Ohio children and families.

“Medicare, in addition to Social Security, is part of a social compact we’ve had in this country for more than fifty years, guaranteeing a secure retirement that Americans earn over a lifetime of hard work. Unfortunately, Congressman Price’s record makes it clear he doesn’t see things this way,” Mr. Brown said in a floor speech today.

“Anyone who wants to throw out the Medicare guarantee is not fit to serve as the Secretary in charge of this lifeline,” he said.

“He has supported Medicare privatization plans that would yank care away from our seniors and our most vulnerable, and replace it with meaningless vouchers that will take money out of the pockets of hardworking families and hand it over to Wall Street,” Mr. Brown said.

He said Mr. Price supported raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67.

Republicans control a majority of votes in the Senate, and Mr. Price is expected to win confirmation.

Republican Ohio Sen. Rob Portman has already supported Mr. Price, voting for him after a hearing in front of the Senate Finance Committee Feb. 1.

He said that Mr. Price is committed to work on helping Congress replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, “with a better system that lowers health care costs.

“Representative Price expressed his commitment to me that he’d work with us on a replacement that would help ensure access to addiction treatment for individuals currently getting insurance coverage through ObamaCare’s exchanges or Medicaid expansion. He also committed to fully implement the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act,” Mr. Portman said, referring to a law he co-authored in the Senate.

Like other Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee, Mr. Brown boycotted the meeting in an effort to block a committee vote. Majority Republicans eliminated the rule requiring that at least one Democrat be present for quorum and approved the nomination on a 14-0 vote by Republicans.

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