November 29, 2016
President-elect Donald Trump’s healthcare nominees are in keeping with his promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as to work with Republicans to overhaul Medicare and Medicaid significantly.
Secretary of Health and Human Services
President-elect Trump has named Republican Representative Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon from Georgia, to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. Price, an early Trump supporter, has long championed a plan of tax credits, expanded health savings accounts and lawsuit reforms to replace the ACA. Regarding Medicare, he has signed on to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s “Better Way” plan, which would raise the age at which Americans become eligible and would give people the option of taking a fixed sum to shop for private coverage under the program.
Price has served since 2015 as chairman of the House of Representatives’ Budget Committee and was a leader in the effort to dismantle the ACA. He is a member of the Doctors Caucus, which has raised concern over the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) plan for a new payment system for physicians. The group notes that the plan has the potential to “overcomplicate an already burdensome and complex” system. Price is also an opponent of having Medicare negotiate drug prices directly with manufacturers. The American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association have both issued statements supporting Price’s nomination.
Price’s confirmation by the Senate as secretary of Health and Human Services would cap a congressional career that began in 2005. He grew up in Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan and its medical school, then worked for almost 20 years as a surgeon. In 2009 and 2010, Price was chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a caucus of the most conservative members in the U.S. House.
Trump has selected Seema Verma—currently the president, CEO and founder of SVC, Inc., a national health policy consulting company—to serve as CMS administrator. This position also requires confirmation by the Senate.
Verma, an Indiana resident best known for her work on Medicaid issues, has close ties with Vice President-elect Mike Pence. She designed Indiana’s Medicaid expansion model, known as Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0. In this role, she developed enabling legislation, negotiated the financing plan with the state’s hospital association, developed and helped negotiate the federal waiver and supported implementation. In addition to her leadership in Indiana, Verma has extensive experience redesigning Medicaid programs and managed-care initiatives in several states including Iowa, Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan, Kentucky and Maine. Prior to consulting, Verma worked for the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Indiana, and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials in Washington, D.C.
Ms. Verma participated in the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee report on Medicaid reform and contributed to the development of the 2011 report “A New Medicaid: A Flexible, Innovative and Accountable Future.” Policy solutions recommended in the report include: