President-Elect Donald Trump said today he will nominate Rep. Tom Price, M.D. (R-GA) as secretary of Health and Human Services, placing the Congressman at the helm of the federal department that oversees the FDA and NIH, as well as a leading role in shepherding Trump’s effort to replace the Affordable Care Act.
“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,” Dr. Price said in a statement released by Trump’s transition office.
Dr. Price, 62, chairs the Committee on the Budget in the House of Representatives, where he has represented Georgia’s 6th district since first winning election in 2004. He succeeded Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), now Speaker of the House, as budget committee head. Previously, Dr. Price served four terms in the Georgia State Senate, becoming the first Republican majority leader in the state’s history.
For nearly 20 years, Dr. Price practiced medicine privately as an orthopedic surgeon. Before his election to Congress, he returned to Emory University School of Medicine as an assistant professor and medical director of the Orthopedic Clinic at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, teaching resident doctors in training. He received his bachelor and M.D. degrees from the University of Michigan, and completed his residency at Emory University.
During a May 4 visit to Emory, according to a university announcement, Dr. Price expressed support for strong federal funding of scientific and biomedical research—but tied major expansion of federal funding for scientific research to reforming Medicare and Social Security.
“Asked whether he could envision a major increase in the National Institutes of Health budget, comparable to the doubling in funding that occurred in the 1990s, Price replied: ‘In the near term, I don’t see it.’,” Emory stated on May 5. “However, a ‘smaller bump,’ more along the lines of the $2 billion increase in NIH funding passed by Congress in December, could be possible, he said.”
Dr. Price is expected to figure prominently in Trump’s efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, though the president elect has also said he is open to retaining some of its provisions, such as requiring insurers provide coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Price was an early critic of “Obamacare,” and was among the first Republicans to introduce a legislative replacement; he has advocated health savings accounts and interstate sales of insurance, policy goals championed by numerous other Republicans.
Trump today praised Price as having “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.”
“He is exceptionally qualified to shepherd our commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare and bring affordable and accessible healthcare to every American,” Trump added.
In another healthcare-related appointment, Trump said he will also nominate Seema Verma to be administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Verma is the president, CEO and founder of the health care policy consulting company SVC.