Marie Thibault

February 10, 2017

2 Min Read
Tom Price Confirmed as HHS Head

The Senate voted to confirm Price as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Here's what to expect.

Tom Price, MD is in as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) after the U.S. Senate voted 52-47 to confirm his nomination. The post of HHS head is particularly key as Republicans look to oust the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Senators voted along party lines, with all Republicans--and no Democrats--voting to confirm.

Price, a Republican congressman from Georgia, was an orthopedic surgeon for almost 20 years before becoming a politician. His nomination drew support from the American Medical Association as well as medical device industry groups, including AdvaMed and the Medical Device Manufacturers Association. Women's health groups, including Planned Parenthood, were among those that opposed his nomination.

Price has been active on healthcare legislation, including opposing the ACA and calling the mandatory Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) bundled payment program a "model handed down from CMS [that] comes with tremendous risk and complexity for patients and health care providers." He has put forth ACA alternatives in the past, including his "Empowering Patients First Act" most recently in May 2015, and supported the "A Better Way" agenda.

During the confirmation process, Senate Democrats asked Price questions about his plans for an ACA replacement, his vision for Medicare, and his personal investments. According to coverage by The Hill, Price was asked whether people who received insurance coverage under ACA, those with pre-existing conditions, and young adults covered on their parents' insurance plans until age 26 would continue to be covered with an ACA replacement. The Hill reported that in response to these questions, Price emphasized ensuring people can afford to get the coverage they want.

Price resigned his seat as a U.S. representative upon confirmation of his HHS role. In his farewell statement, he referenced his "Empowering Patients First Act" as "one that empowers patients and ensures they and their doctor have the freedom to make health care decisions without bureaucratic interference or influence." He added, "It is my goal and commitment to the American people that I will work as Secretary of HHS to ensure that our health care system adheres to what I call the six principles of health care: affordability, accessibility, quality, choices, innovation, and responsiveness."

[Image courtesy of JENSJUNGE/PIXABAY]

About the Author(s)

Marie Thibault

Marie Thibault is the managing editor for Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry and Qmed. Reach her at [email protected] and on Twitter @MedTechMarie.

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