Price Dangerous to Those With Disabilities

For millions of Americans, the confirmation of Tom Price as the federal secretary of health and human services may pose a greater downside risk to our nation’s well-being than the confirmation of other, more vilified Trump nominees.

For those of us who have been involved in services to people with disabilities, Price’s policies have contributed to Georgia’s dismal national ranking in funding services for those with disabilities.

To qualify for services that could cost tens of thousands of dollars annually, a family must obtain a waiver. The waiver uses a funding formula that combines state funds (about 20 percent) with federal funds (about 80 percent). The state needs only to agree to receive federal funds to offset the extraordinary financial burden on a family.

As a state legislator, Tom Price led the charge to deny the acceptance of federal funds.

The result? Money earmarked for the thousands of families in need in Georgia was transferred to other states eager to accept federal funds that would better the lives of their citizens.

Price sat on the House Committee on the Budget and the House Committee on Ways and Means. He helped ensure that Georgia has well over 10,000 people on its waiver waiting list (for years).

To put that number in perspective: California, with more than twice our population, has 3,500 on its waiver waiting list. Wisconsin has 3,000. Missouri has 650. New Jersey has 50. New York, Oregon and Massachusetts have none.

Perhaps Price uses Texas as a model for what is in store for our nation: Texas has a waiting list of 163,000.

Irrespective of what we feel about the other questionable candidates, Price has the potential to cause extraordinary grief and dislocation to those who can least afford and tolerate it.

Harry Stern, Marietta

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