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Senate Confirms Obamacare Opponent As Health Secretary

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Senate Confirms Obamacare Opponent As Health Secretary

Tom Price, a rabid Obamacare critic, tapped to lead the HHS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate voted on Friday to confirm Representative Tom Price as the top U.S. healthcare official, putting a determined opponent of Obamacare in position to help President Donald Trump dismantle the healthcare law.

The Senate voted 52-47 to approve the conservative Georgia Republican and orthopedic surgeon as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a massive department with an annual budget of more than $1 trillion.

His confirmation opens the door for lawmakers to consider Trump’s U.S. Treasury secretary designate, Steven Mnuchin. A vote on his nomination is expected on Monday.

Price, in his new job, will have authority to rewrite rules implementing the 2010 Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Price could move quickly to rework the law’s regulations while waiting for Republicans in Congress to keep their pledge to scrap the law entirely.

Republicans, who have the majority in Congress, are trying to craft a replacement for Obamacare but have not agreed on one. Twenty million Americans gained health insurance under the law.

“Having Dr. Tom Price at the helm of HHS gives us a committed ally in our work to repeal and replace Obamacare,” said U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has vowed to pass a new plan this year.

Trump signed an order on his first day in office directing government agencies to freeze Obamacare regulations and take other steps to weaken the law, a directive that will fall largely on Price. Trump, in a Fox News interview this month, said a replacement may not come until next year.

Price’s nomination was dogged by questions about his trading in hundreds of thousands of dollars in health company stocks while working on healthcare legislation. Democrats boycotted the committee vote on his nomination, saying he had made misleading statements. Price has said his actions were legal and ethical.

A member of the House of Representatives since 2005 who chaired the budget committee, Price wrote legislation to repeal Obamacare and replace it with age-adjusted tax credits for the purchase of health insurance.

Democrats criticized Price for his stock trading as well as his opposition to Obamacare, his ideas about restructuring the Medicare program for the elderly, and his support for cutting federal funds to Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides abortions and other affordable healthcare and education services.

HHS oversees Medicare and Medicaid, the government health insurance programs for the elderly, disabled, and poor. It also encompasses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.

(Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee and Susan Heavey in Washington; Editing by Robert and Bernadette Baum)

IMAGE: Chairman of the House Budget Committee Tom Price (R-GA) announces the House Budget during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo



  1. Thoughtopsy February 10, 2017

    Hey Trumptards and Republican working class peeps… That sucking sound is your Healthcare disappearing because some wealthy Republicans have decided it’s philosophically and morally “better for you” not to have healthcare you can afford. Let me be very clear… this philosophy is: If you can’t afford it, it’s morally better for you that you die in pain and suffering, of preventable and treatable illnesses.

    Plus… it would be “morally wrong” to regulate the Medical, Insurance, and Pharmaceutical industries (to bring down gouging costs to a level that people could actually afford without government help) because that would stop those massive corporations from making the maximum amount of money they can off your suffering…. you know… like telephone companies and power companies… because phones and power are things people actually need. Medical care is a total luxury…

    With a bit of luck Price can personally make himself some money out of your misery, too.

    Bonus: You brought this on yourself by ignoring multiple potential sexual assaults, multiple bankruptcies, illegal employment, mafia connections, 3500 lawsuits, a “charitable foundation” run as a slush fund, a con of a “University”, a history of self-enrichment at the cost of everyone else, massive and sustained lying, no honesty with tax returns to show freedom from blackmail, overt Russian assistance, repeated contradictions, racism, bigotry, women-hating and incitement to violence……..

    Because someone didn’t manage their email within the rules of their government department.

    Let me assure you: You are about to get everything you deserve for your ignorance and abject stupidity.

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