HHS head: 'Offensive' to say GOP healthcare process lacks diversity

HHS head: 'Offensive' to say GOP healthcare process lacks diversity
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on Monday rejected claims that the GOP's process to repeal and replace ObamaCare lacks diversity, calling it "offensive." 

Amid criticism of the Senate GOP for putting together a working group on healthcare that includes 13 men and no women, Price highlighted the roles of women in the House's passage of a healthcare bill last week.

"Well, this is most offensive," Price told conservative radio host Mike Gallagher, as first reported by CNN. "Look, Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersGOP leaders launch internal review into leak Ryan: More audio leaks 'cause for concern' Female lawmakers flee House for higher office, retirement MORE [Wash.], who's the chairperson — chairman — of the Republican conference in the House of Representatives, was intimately involved in this process." 

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"Diane BlackDiane BlackGowdy front-runner to be next Oversight chairman Female lawmakers flee House for higher office, retirement House GOP not sold on Ryan’s tax reform plan MORE [Tenn.], representative, is the chair of the Budget Committee, is the author of the bill that went through the House of Representatives," he continued. "Seema Verma who is the administrator for Center for Medicare, Medicaid Services — all these individuals — leaders, leaders in this, are and with great experience and expertise.

"So this is absolutely offensive to those who understand and appreciate what's really going on." 

NBC's Andrea Mitchell tore into Price during an interview aired Sunday on "Meet the Press," telling him that "there was no diversity" among Republicans who had attended a celebratory news conference at the White House on Thursday after the House narrowly approved the American Health Care Act. 

"When we looked at the Rose Garden and the celebration of this on Thursday, they were mostly all men, and white men at that," she said. "There was no diversity there. Women's health issues arguably are going to be disproportionately affected."

Democrats have argued in recent days that Republican efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare have been largely one-sided, excluding women and minorities from negotiations that could significantly impact healthcare and health services.