Tom Price is the former US Secretary of Health and Human Services. Price resigned from his job last year amid scandal about his alleged misuse of taxpayer-funded private jets.
Today, a report by the Health and Human Services Inspector General announced that Price had wasted at least $341,000 on travel during his seven months on the job.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. The Inspector General Wants Price to Repay Every Penny Of The Money He “Wasted” on Chartered Flights
The HHS inspector general is reporting that Price wasted the $341,000 on unnecessary chartered flights, when he could have flown economy.
Politico first broke the story about Price’s use of private jets back in October. The news site reported that Price was “using private jets for routine travel, possibly in violation of federal travel rules that allowed such flights only when commercial options weren’t available.”
Price has already paid the federal government back for $60,000 of the money he spent on travel. Now, the inspector general is asking him to reimburse the government for the rest of the $341,000 he allegedly blew on private jets.
2. Price’s Wife, Betty, Is a State Representative Who May Be Best Known For A Statement About “Quarantining” People With HIV
Betty Price is a member of the Georgia House of Representatives. She represents House district 48. She is a former anesthesiologist with a medical degree from McGill University, in Canada. She and Tom met while both were physicians at Grady Memorial Hospital.
In 2017, Representative Price was at a committee meeting to discuss healthcare issues facing Georgia. When the subject of Georgia’s high HIV rate came up, Price said, “What are we legally able to do? I don’t want to say the quarantine word, but I guess I just said it.”
Price added, “It seems to me it’s almost frightening the number of people who are living that are potentially carriers, well they are carriers, with the potential to spread, whereas in the past they died more readily and then at that point they are not posing a risk. So we’ve got a huge population posing a risk if they are not in treatment.”
Price later said that her remarks had been taken out of context and were meant to spark discussion — she insisted that she did not really want to quarantine people with HIV.
Price Was A Vocal Opponent Of Obamacare Who Vowed to Repeal It
Price was a very vocal opponent of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. He repeatedly urged its repeal, and vowed that the Trump administration was “going to make this happen.”
Even before Price’s confirmation hearing, he had authored a plan called the Empowering Patients First Act, a comprehensive plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
4. Price Now Works For a Private Healthcare Business In Georgia
After leaving the public sector, Price found work as an advisor for Jackson Healthcare Advisory Board, a company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Jackson Healthcare provides staff for healthcare companies, and also provides technology services to healthcare companies.
The company has declined to say how much they are paying Price. But in a statement on their website, the company praises Price’s experience, saying, “Nobody has as profound an understanding of the national healthcare landscape as Dr. Price. Tom has exhibited an unwavering commitment to preserving the patient-physician relationship. That mindset, along with his physician, business and policy experience, will make him an invaluable addition to our board.”
5. Price’s Son Robert Is a Musician Whose Band Was Called “Mockingbird Sun”
Tom and Betty have one son, Robert, who is a musician. Robert Price’s band, Mockingbird Sun, appears to be inactive right now. Back in 2105, the band was actively touring the country.