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Looks Like Tom Price Is Caught In Some Private Jet Drama

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According to Politico, Tom Price, the Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS), used private jets on five occasions. Although Price used the private jets for “official business,” the flights were significantly more expensive than commercial airlines. (Who would have guessed?)

CNN explains that Price’s flights cost approximately $60,000. Yikes, that’s essentially a year of private college tuition.

Politico elaborates that the five flights took place between September 13 and 15, because Price had to attend a discussion with a CEO in the healthcare industry. Obviously, Price needs to be able to do his job and he needs to be able to travel to do his job. Regardless, it seems a bit excessive to take a private jet for every meet and greet you attend — especially when his predecessors flew commercial.

A HHS spokesperson told Politico that Price only uses private charter flights when commercial flights aren’t possible. However, as Politico notes, there were some trips where airport records showed that there were commercial flights available — like a 135 mile trip from D.C. to Philadelphia— at the same time as Price's private charter.  They add that Price’s spokespeople declined to comment on why he didn't take the commercial flight in that instance. 

Utilizing the private jets seems a bit distasteful, when Price himself has defended President Donald Trump’s extreme budget cuts — which equate to about $880 billion — on healthcare by essentially stating that not many Americans will lose their Medicaid. Granted, the $60,000 that was allocated to Price’s five flights might seem like loose change compared to the grand total of the budget cuts.

The HHS spokesperson went on to tell Politico, “As part of the HHS mission to enhance and protect the health and well-being of the American people, Secretary Price travels on occasion outside Washington to meet face to face with the American people to hear their thoughts and concerns firsthand. When commercial aircraft cannot reasonably accommodate travel requirements, charter aircraft can be used for official travel.” 

We get it, Price has to travel a lot for his job in the administration, but it seems a bit hypocritical when Price previously explained to CNN in April that he wants to reduce waste in his agency.

He revealed to CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, “For us to say, 'OK, let's just throw more money at that system. Let's see if more money helps that out' is the wrong way.” However, it seems like Price might be throwing more money into the system by going on these expensive trips to meet with healthcare organizations via private jet.


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