Price confirmed to head HHS

Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., has been confirmed as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

An early-morning, straight party-line vote of 52-47 followed a lengthy debate on Price’s personal investments in medical and pharmaceutical companies and opinions on Medicare and Medicaid.

The 62-year-old retired orthopedic surgeon has been one of Congress’s most vocal opponents of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He is expected to implement the repeal and replacement plans Republicans are working on in the House.

while serving as chairman of the House Budget Committee, Price supported proposals that would shift Medicare toward a fixed government contribution for each beneficiary to be used to purchase a Medicare health plan through an exchange.

Price also has endorsed the idea of giving each state a fixed amount of federal money in the form of a block grant to provide healthcare to low-income Medicaid beneficiaries.

He also supports the proposal by House Speaker Paul Ryan whereby Medicare beneficiaries would receive premium support from the government to purchase a Medicare health plan through an exchange of government and private companies.

Price’s confirmation has been received with mixed reviews from long-term care organizations:

AHCA/NCAL: “We look forward to the opportunity to work with Secretary Price,” says Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL). “His healthcare expertise and emphasis on patient-centered care will help us build upon our ongoing efforts to provide quality long term and post-acute care to the elderly and individuals with disabilities.”

PQHH: “The Partnership looks forward to working with Secretary Price and the leadership at HHS to improve access to skilled home healthcare by providing much-needed regulatory relief to Medicare rules that are currently restricting access to vitally important home health services,” says Colin Roskey, executive vice president of the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare. “His track record as a physician and member of Congress demonstrates his proven commitment to protecting America’s home health patients.”

PNHP: “The Senate’s confirmation of Tom Price as health secretary is a body blow to the health and welfare of all Americans,” says Carol Paris, MD, president of Physicians for a National Health Program. “Price’s vision for reforming U.S. healthcare would result in millions of Americans losing their existing health insurance coverage, and millions more having to make do with bare-bones policies that offer little to know meaningful protection. He can also be expected to push high-deductible health plans, which already result in millions of people forgoing needed care, and to undermine Medicare, the Medicaid program and safety-net hospitals.”

 

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Topics: Executive Leadership , Medicare/Medicaid