Trump nominates Obamacare critic as HHS chief

In a sign of plans to roll back President Obama's health care law, President-elect Donald Trump said Tuesday he will nominate Georgia congressman and outspoken Obama critic Tom Price to be secretary of health and human services.

"Chairman Price, a renowned physician, has earned a reputation for being a tireless problem solver and the go-to expert on healthcare policy, making him the ideal choice to serve in this capacity,” Trump said in making the announcement official early Tuesday.

He added that Price "is exceptionally qualified to shepherd our commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare and bring affordable and accessible healthcare to every American."

As news broke Monday night, ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a frequent Trump adviser, tweeted that Price will make a "great" HHS secretary, and "is the right leader to help Congress replace Obamacare."

In addition to Price, Trump announced that he will nominate Seema Verma — president, CEO and founder of SVC, Inc., a national health policy consulting company -- to be administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Verma "has decades of experience advising on Medicare and Medicaid policy and helping states navigate our complicated system," Trump said. "Together, Chairman Price and Seema Verma are the dream team that will transform our healthcare system for the benefit of all Americans.”

In accepting his nomination, Price said that "there is much work to be done to ensure we have a healthcare system that works for patients, families, and doctors; that leads the world in the cure and prevention of illness; and that is based on sensible rules to protect the well-being of the country while embracing its innovative spirit."

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who is leading Trump’s transition team, told reporters Monday night to expect “a number of very important announcements tomorrow." He didn't elaborate.

A six-term member of Congress and an orthopedic surgeon, Price is a frequent critic of the health care law that Obama signed in 2010.

“Premiums have gone up, not down," he has said. "Many Americans lost the health coverage they were told time and time again by the president that they could keep. Choices are fewer.”

Price, 62, received his doctorate from the University of Michigan and started his career as an orthopedic surgeon in Roswell, Ga. Two decades later, he ran for office as a Republican. He was elected to the State Senate in 1996.

As a state senator, Price served on committees for health and human services, consumer affairs and education, among others. The legislature’s website states that Price successfully sponsored legislation increasing safety for children in Home Childcare Facilities, which passed.


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