Tom Price Moves One Step Closer to Becoming HHS Secretary
Last Wednesday night, in a 51 to 48 vote along party lines, the Senate voted to break a Democratic filibuster and send President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Health & Human Services Tom Price to the next stage of the nomination process. The Senate will now hold 30 hours of floor debate before the final vote sometime Friday.
Price is an orthopedic surgeon and 12-year congressional representative from Georgia. He has been an outspoken critic of the ACA, even having introduced his own replacement legislation in the past, with his Empowering Patients First Act.
So what is in this bill, and what are Congressmen Price’s complaints against the ACA? By looking at his law, and what he wants to change we can get an idea of where he might lead healthcare reform efforts in the future.
His primary complaint is that the law interferes with the doctor-patient relationship. According to a press release from his office, “The Empowering Patients First Act puts patients, families, and doctors in charge by focusing on the principles of affordability, accessibility, quality, innovation, choices and responsiveness. Those principles form the foundation of the solutions in H.R. 2300 – solutions including individual health pools and expanded health savings accounts, tax credits for the purchase of coverage and lawsuit abuse reforms to reduce the costly practice of defensive medicine. The solutions in the Empowering Patients First Act will get Washington out of the way while protecting and strengthening the doctor-patient relationship.”
Next, Price wants to expand health savings accounts (HSAs), like President Trump discussed as well. This includes allowing these accounts to be inherited tax-free, and people covered by a government program like Medicare to contribute to an HSA. This is also part of Speaker Ryan’s healthcare plan as well.
Price also wants to offer fixed tax credits for individuals to purchase healthcare. The credit would begin at $1,200 for everyone –regardless of income – and increase with age. People covered through government-sponsored healthcare could opt into this credit and purchase private insurance instead.
Congressman Price has said he is open to compromise, and any final bill is likely to be a mixture of his plan, Speaker Ryan’s plan, Trump’s campaign promises and even some concessions to the Democrats to ensure the bill passes, but these are the major ideas of the man most likely to be the next HHS Secretary.