Administration

Former Health Secretary: Price's use of chartered flights is 'stunning'

Former Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday that her successor's use of private chartered flights is "stunning."

Current HHS Secretary Tom Price is currently having his travel expenses reviewed by the department's inspector general after reports emerged that he spent at least $400,000 in government funds in charter flights since May.

Sebelius, who served as health secretary in the Obama administration, told Bloomberg reporters that while in office, she only took one chartered flight - to visit three remote villages in Alaska.

"I have no idea who came up with this notion and where it came from, and the notion you could spend $400,000 in what, five months, is stunning," Sebelius said.

During her tenure, Sebelius said, officials were required to travel commercially in economy class but were permitted to book business-class tickets if a flight lasted more than 12 consecutive hours.

"The rules that I thought were the rules that we operated under, were: commercial travel - economy," she said. "There was never a charter anything."

Price has since ceased his use of private flights and said that he has instituted an internal review of how his office books official travel.

"We've heard the criticism. We've heard the concerns. We take that very seriously and have taken it to heart," Price said earlier this month.

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