Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) was nominated by President-Elect Donald Trump to become the next Secretary of Health and Human Services. Congressman Price was a practicing doctor before he entered politics. He has been a major supporter of a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. In the past, he has introduced his own proposal that is largely framed around previous Republican proposals including tax credits to buy insurance on the open market, buy policies across state line, and high risk pools for people who cannot get health insurance. None of the proposals have been calculated to cover the 20 million people who currently have health insurance through the ACA.
Congressman Price currently serves as chairman of the House Budget committee and he has shepherded through past budget resolutions that seek the transformation of key entitlements including Medicaid and the SNAP/food stamp program into block grants. He will be a key partner with House leadership in crafting future HHS budget proposals and changes including the ACA (see below).
It is increasing likely incoming Republican Congress will create two reconciliation bills next year. The first will be created by adopting a budget resolution for the current budget, 2017 and a second reconciliation will be created by a budget resolution for 2018.
While announcing the selection of Congressman Price, the transition team also announced the appointment Seema Verma to head up the Office of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Ms. Verma is the CEO and founder of SVC Inc, a health care consulting firm. She has close ties to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence and Indiana where she worked for the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County. Her consulting firm has worked on Indiana’s Medicaid expansion under the ACA and she has consulted with other Midwest states to design other state Medicaid expansions which have included “health savings accounts” and work requirements for some Medicaid patients.