Tom Price Confirmed By U.S. Senate For HHS Secretary
Early Friday morning, the U.S. Senate Voted 52 – 47 to approve Tom Price as the new Secretary of Health & Human Services. Tom Price, who has spoken out against the Affordable Care Act in the past, is now the top healthcare official in the United States, a crucial position to help the Trump administration begin undoing the law.
“Having Dr. Tom Price at the helm of HHS gives us a committed ally in our work to repeal and replace Obamacare,” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan told Reuters.
His nomination and approval process was not a smooth one. He faced a series of questions surrounding his trading of more than $300,000 of healthcare stock, including from companies who stood to benefit from legislation he voted for, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. His appointment to HHS Secretary was filibustered by Democrats but was broken by a Republican vote late Wednesday night.
He was also criticized for his support of repealing the ACA, cutting federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and restructuring Medicare.
Price has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2005 – 6 terms – and prior to running for office was an orthopedic surgeon.
Aside from having the authority to draft rules and regulations of the ACA, Price – and the HHS as a whole – oversees The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that administers Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program; The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) that tracks and combats the spread of infectious disease; and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which oversees food safety, pharmaceutical safety and regulates medical devices.
With an HHS Secretary in place, changes to the ACA may come quickly, even before congress has the chance to repeal the law entirely. Stay tuned to these developments to make sure your health plan remains in compliance.