WASHINGTON (UPI) — President-elect Donald Trump has chosen one of the biggest critics of the Affordable Care Act to run the Department of Health and Human Services, according to his transition team.
Trump is expected to nominate Congressman Tom Price, a six-term Republican representative from Georgia, to run HHS, which is also responsible for Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, the FDA and various federal medical research agencies.
Price is a former orthopedic surgeon who has been one of the fiercest critics of President Barack Obama‘s effort to reform health insurance, the main thrust of which was the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
The ACA established a framework for state-run insurance exchanges, including regulations that outlaw pre-existing conditions and require insurers to permit parents to keep their children on their plans until age 26, allowing consumers to review plans when figuring out what to buy.
The hefty regulations of the law, as well as the individual mandate to buy health insurance, which is enforced using a tax penalty, have motivated Republicans in Congress to work tirelessly to repeal the ACA since it was passed by Democrats six years ago.
“We think it’s important that Washington not be in charge of health care,” told The Wall Street Journal earlier this year. “The problem that I have with Obamacare is that its premise is that Washington knows best.”
Among the ACA provisions, Price has been most critical of is the requirement that insurance plans cover the cost of contraception, which he has opposed federal funding for but voted in favor of while a member of the Georgia state legislature. The difference, he said in 2012, is that the state was making the decision, rather than the federal government.
Price has worked with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to create a Republican replacement built around health savings accounts and capping how much employers can spend on providing employee health insurance before being taxed among methods of bringing down costs.
The plan would also motivate states to create insurance programs for people with pre-existing medical conditions and would allow insurers to sell