Monday, February 13, 2017

TRUMP AGENDA - HHS Secretary Tom Price

"As HHS Secretary, Tom Price has significant powers to change health care" PBS NewsHour 2/10/2017


SUMMARY:  Tom Price, a Republican congressman from Georgia, was confirmed as the next secretary of health and human services overnight.  The longtime opponent of the Affordable Care Act sees a smaller role for the federal government in health care.  But his new boss, President Trump, has said he wouldn't touch Medicare or Medicaid.  Lisa Desjardins talks with Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News.

LISA DESJARDINS (NewsHour):  He is, after his swearing-in today, the nation's 23rd Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Georgia Congressman Tom Price in the wee hours this morning on a party-line vote of 52-47.  Secretary Price is a longtime opponent of the Affordable Care Act.

To Democrats like Maria Cantwell of Washington State, that is the problem.

SEN. MARIA CANTWELL, D-District of Columbia:  My view is, this vote is the first vote in the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

LISA DESJARDINS:  But to Republicans like Tom Cotton of Arkansas, that's Price's appeal.

SEN. TOM COTTON, R-Ark.:  You could say his chief qualification for the job of replacing Obamacare is, he had the good sense to oppose it in the first place.

LISA DESJARDINS:  Price is also a retired doctor, the first physician to lead HHS in nearly 25 years.  But in confirmation hearings, he faced tough questions over his relationship with health care companies, and his investment in some which were affected by his actions in Congress.

Now Price is responsible for a more than a trillion-dollar health agency budget, for a department that oversees food and drugs, biomedical research, public health threats, and, of course, a large portion of U.S. health care.  That includes Medicaid, which covers more than 74 million people, and Medicare, over 55 million.

His theme?  A smaller role for the federal government.  In Congress, Price backed a proposed cap on Medicare spending per person.  Price also supported giving states fixed amounts, in block grants, to cover low-income people on Medicaid.

But his new boss, Donald Trump, said on the campaign trail he wouldn't touch Medicare or Medicaid.

DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:  Save Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security without cuts.  Have to do it.

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