The Hill — January 01, 2017
Trump’s Healthcare Nominees Are Just What The Doctor Ordered
It has been widely reported that President-elect Trump’s nomination of Rep. Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon, to be the next secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Seema Verma to be the next administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), has drawn many cheers from Republicans eager to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
To be sure, replacing Obamacare would be a huge victory for conservatives, and Price has proved he is more than qualified to take on the task by authoring a comprehensive replacement plan in every Congress since 2011.
But all of the focus on Obamacare overlooks the real reason Price’s nomination is just what the doctor ordered: He will take over the reins of HHS just in time to begin implementation of the biggest change to Medicare physician payment in generations, the “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act” (MACRA).
Keep in mind that Price would be only the third physician to fill the top spot in the 63-year history of HHS — if there were ever a time for a doctor to lead the agency, this is it.
Price’s viewpoint as a surgeon, combined with the cost-saving eye of a Budget Committee chairman, is just what this administration needs to take on the tough issues facing our health system and implement a massive overhaul to the way Medicare pays physicians.
After tapping a Medicare expert and physician to lead HHS, President-elect Trump wisely balanced out his health care roster by nominating Medicaid tactician Seema Verma to run CMS.
Verma has decades of health policy experience and is best known for her work on complex Medicaid issues.
With Price’s experience as a fiscal-hawk physician, and Verma’s deep understanding of the challenges faced by states, Trump picked the right team to usher in a new era for health care reform and Medicare physician payments.
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