On Tuesday morning, Tea Party conservative Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) was officially chosen as Secretary of Health and Human Services for the administration of President-elect Donald J. Trump. Trump announced, “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.”
This pick reflects Trump’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, as Price has been a vocal critic of the Affordable Care Act and the Obama administration generally. On Obamacare, Price said, “While President Obama and Democrats have the audacity to tout Obamacare’s ‘success,’ the cold hard facts and figures prove the opposite is true.”
In The House of Representatives, Price sponsored the Empowering Patients First Act, a potential replacement for Obamacare. The EPFA creates and expands tax credits for purchasing health insurance and permits interstate health insurance markets. This pick may quell some of the Republican concerns that Trump will not make repealing and replacing Obamacare a priority.
Price has some practical experience in the healthcare field as well, having worked as a practicing orthopedic surgeon for twenty years before running for office for the first time in 1996. After serving in the Georgia State Senate, Price ran for Congress in 2004 and has held his seat ever since. When Paul Ryan (R-WI) was chosen for Speaker of the House, Price took over Ryan’s role in the House Budget Committee. He also served on the Ways and Means Committee, and the subcommittees on Health and Human Resources respectively.
Price is ardently pro-life, receiving a 100% rating from the National Right to Life. He cosponsored the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in 2015, which banned abortions after 20 weeks. Price is a strong social conservative, opposing same-sex marriage and voting to prohibit it federally. His voting record indicates strong fiscal conservatism with an aversion to waste, corruption, and runaway spending. He has been tough on crime and drugs, earning him a 0% rating from the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws. He is extremely pro-surveillance, but luckily that won’t be part of the HHS job.
Speaker Ryan called Price,”The absolute perfect choice.” MSNBC labeled him a “scary pick”.
Though more libertarian-leaning conservatives may have some qualms about Price, he is qualified for the HHS Secretary post and is an excellent pick because of his criticism of Obamacare and pro-life record.