4 Things to Know about Tom Price, Trump’s Pick for HHS
President-Elect Donald Trump chose Tom Price (R-Ga.) to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) amid praise and criticism. Price practiced as an orthopedic surgeon for more than 20 years, and many physicians believe his knowledge and understanding will be a positive influence in the department. Critics cite several concerns – particularly in the areas of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicare – since, as leader of the HHS, Price will have discretionary control to enforce, repeal, or change many of its rules.
WHAT WE KNOW
- He wrote a replacement to Obamacare
The Empowering Patients First Act of 2015 is Congressman Price’s replacement for Obamacare, and many of its provisions have been included in A Better Way health care plan created by Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. Both call for the repeal of Obamacare, more choices for consumers, and better access to health care. Both plans also support expanding the use and role of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and less government involvement in health care. Some Obamacare provisions remain in both plans, such as children remaining on their parents insurance until age 26, and coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.
- He is a critic of MACRA
Price has been a critic of MACRA, The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, which established a payment reform in the way physicians are paid to care their Medicare patients. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final rule this past October Click HERE for a link to the summary.
- He is endorsed by the American Medical Association (AMA)
Despite his conservative stance on many issues, such as abortion and immigration reform, the AMA supports his stance to retain the doctor-patient relationship by reducing excessive regulation and lowering the cost of healthcare. To read the AMA press release click here (Insert http://tomprice.house.gov/
- He may act as liaison between Trump and Ryan
Trump’s position on Medicare appears to contradict Speaker Ryan’s proposal to privatize the program. Trump has consistently voiced his support of Medicare, and Vice President-elect Mike Pence confirmed the stance this week. The Medicaid program is also under scrutiny with Republicans calling for a set amount of funding for each state, which would administer the program. Critics worry this will lead to benefit cuts or enrollment caps. We can expect Price’s role to be that of a liaison within the party.
For more information on Tom Price, visit his website at http://tomprice.house.gov/
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