NBC’s Andrea Mitchell confronted Department of Health and Human Services Director Tom Price on Sunday over the lack of diversity at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden celebrating the passage of Republicans’ American Healthcare Act in the House of Representatives.
In an interview on “Meet The Press,” Mitchell questioned whether the optics were appropriate considering the AHCA would allow insurers to opt-out of providing the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits, which include maternity and newborn care, mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, and birth control.
“When we looked at the Rose Garden and the celebration of this on Thursday, they were mostly all men and white men at that,” Mitchell said. “There was no diversity there. Women’s health issues arguably are going to be disproportionately affected.”
UNITED STATES – MARCH 14: From left, Dr. Alice T. Chen, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Maggie Hassn, D-N.H., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., attend a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center to voice opposition to House Republican’s health care plan, the American Health Care Act, March 14, 2017. The event featured testimony from patients and doctors who benefit from the Affordable Care Act. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Price argued that there were several women in the Rose Garden who played a part in passing the bill.
“Andrea, come on,” Price said. “Look at that picture. Congresswoman Diane Black, the chair of the budget committee, I was standing next to her, Seema Verma, the administrator of C.M.S. [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services], I was standing right next to her.”
“Out of a group of dozens and dozens of people, you can cite two or three women?” Mitchell replied.
“These are prominent individuals who are leading, who are leading in this area of health care,” Price said. “The goal, as I mentioned, is to make certain that every single American, men, women, rich, poor, old, young, have the kind of coverage that they want for themselves and for their families, not that government forces them to buy. That’s the change.”
The image of President Donald Trump on Thursday surrounded by a predominantly white male crowd sparked a mini-firestorm on the internet. Critics argued the image represented the people who the bill would benefit, while defenders said the photo was taken out of context.
Thursday’s photo-opportunity wasn’t the only time last week the internet debated the representation of women crafting Trump’s replacement for Obamacare.