President-Elect Donald Trump has selected Georgia Representative Dr. Tom Price to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Price, if confirmed, will be the first medical doctor to lead the Health Department since Dr. Louis W. Sullivan in the George H.W. Bush Administration.
Representative Price, an outspoken critic of the Obamacare mandate, will likely be a key Trump ally in the President-Elect’s mission to repeal and replace President Obama’s signature healthcare law. The incoming President will face resistance from the Democratic Party over the changes to the controversial health plan developed during the early years of the Obama Administration. However, despite Trump’s internal conflicts with senior Republican leadership, the Party is united on making sweeping changes to a law that is seen, widely, as having resulted in spiking health insurance premiums and fewer options for patients.
“Congressional Democrats and the Obama administration blatantly ignored the voices of the American people and rammed through a hyper-partisan piece of legislation that will have a disastrous effect on our nation’s health care system. -Dr. Tom Price”
Dr. Price’s criticism of Obamacare clearly puts him in-line with current mainstream GOP thinking on the mandate. Dr. Price introduced several pieces of legislation during the Obama years that would have changed the way in which the law operated. However, given the President’s intransigence, there was little hope of providing desperately needed relief for millions of Americans dealing with less access and rising costs.
Dr. Price will take the helm of the Department of Health and Human Services which has 79,540 employees and is tasked with overseeing the nation’s health infrastructure. In 2015, HHS’ budget was $1.020 Trillion with the lion’s share of the funding going to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. While the changes to the Obamacare mandate are certainly on the top of the agenda for the incoming administration’s health goals, the lurking fiscal concern about the rising Medicare costs are certainly going to be an issue.
The President-Elect ran on the idea that there would not be cuts to Medicare or entitlements because the budgetary gaps that are being created by funding these entitlements would be offset by new sources of revenue to the Federal Government. However, given the leanings of Congress towards fiscal conservatism, there is a strong possibility that proposed budgets will look towards the future solvency of programs like Medicare. This will certainly be one of the larger challenges for Dr. Price where he can bring his experience as Budget Chairman to bear.
Dr. Price is an orthopedist who got his medical degree from the University of Michigan. Dr. Price has served in congress since 2004 after succeeding now-Senator Johnny Isakson in Georgia’s 6th congressional district. Dr. Price is chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee and has a “zero percent” rating from the abortion advocacy group Planned Parenthood.
There will likely be some grandstanding from the left about Dr. Price’s comments about Obamacare and the fact that Price is ardently pro-life. However, there does not appear to be any legitimate concern about his eventual successful confirmation at this point.