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Donald Trump Picks Rep. Tom Price to Led U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Georgia representative and retired orthopedic surgeon Tom Price will be Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Price currently serves as the chairman of the House Budget Committee and has opposed Obamacare since it was introduced in 2009. As HHS secretary, Price would oversee Medicare,Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – and would be integral in dismantling any healthcare legislation passed during the Obama administration.

By choosing Price, Trump is showing his administration’s commitment to repealing Obamacare. Price is the only legislator to come up with a full plan to replace Obamacare – the Empowering Patients First Act. Other replacement plans, like Speaker Paul Ryan’s Better Way proposal, are still in the preliminary stages.

According to reporting from Vox, Price’s plan includes a full repeal of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion as well as allowing insurers to charge people with preexisting conditions more if they have a lapse in their insurance coverage. Price’s plan would also eliminate the subsidies that help people with lower incomes afford insurance, and would replace it with tax credits that increase as you age – regardless of your income.

In addition to his commitment to scaling back Medicaid, Price has voted against expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The news, which was first announced late Monday by The Washington Post, has been praised by other Republican politicians, including Sen. Dr. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Speaker Ryan.

“This is the absolute perfect choice. Tom Price has made health care his life’s work,” Ryan, an Obamacare opponent, said in a statement. “As a doctor, he has practiced and taught medicine, and he knows exactly how Washington’s decisions affect patients. As a legislator, he has played a leading role in developing conservative health care solutions that put patients first. We could not ask for a better partner to work with Congress to fix our nation’s health care challenges.”

Others, not affiliated with the Republican party, are less than pleased with Trump’s pick. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted “Nominating Rep Price [for HHS] Sec like asking a fox to guard the hen house; risks seniors, women, people w/ disabilities’ healthcare access.”

Pro-choice organization NARAL also weighed in on Twitter, adding “Trump’s HHS pick, Rep. Tom Price, has been in Congress for 11 yrs. & never cast a pro-choice vote while repeatedly voting to defund [Planned Parenthood].”

In a statement on Tuesday, Price responded to his nomination, saying he is honored to have been selected. “There is much work to be done to ensure we have a health care system that works for patients, families and doctors,” he added. “[A healthcare system] that leads the world in the cure and prevention of illness; and that is based on sensible rules to protect the well-being of the country while embracing its innovative spirit.”

Photo credit: Marc Nozell

The Mighty will continue covering healthcare under the Trump administration and will provide more information as soon as it becomes available. For updates, you can follow Jordan Davidson, our news editor, on The Mighty, as well as on Twitter, for updates when news articles come out. 

Originally published: November 29, 2016
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