President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Georgia Rep. Tom Price, a strong critic of the Affordable Care Act, to be his secretary of Health and Human Services, his transition team announced this morning.
Here's what we know about the nation's next possible health secretary.
Name: Thomas Edmunds Price
Party: Republican. He is a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
What he does now: He has represented Georgia’s 6th Congressional District (Atlanta suburbs) since 2005. He is the chairman of the House Budget Committee.
What he used to do: He previously served as the chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee and the chairman of the Republican Study Committee. Before entering national politics, Price served four terms in the Georgia state Senate; he was the minority whip for two of those terms. Prior to that, he was a practicing orthopedic surgeon.
Hometown: Lansing, Michigan
Family Tree: Married to Elizabeth “Betty” Price. One son.
What you might not know about him: He is one of the most prominent critics of the ACA and was the author of an extremely detailed legislative proposal for its replacement. Some of his ideas are included in the House GOP Better Way legislative agenda Republicans hope to enact next year.
Price introduced the Empowering Patients First Act to the 113th Congress (2013–14) — described on his website as “legislation that fully repeals Obamacare and starts over with patient-centered solutions.” The bill is almost 250 pages long.
“We think it’s important that Washington not be in charge of health care,” he told The Wall Street Journal over the summer. “The problem that I have with ‘Obamacare’ is that its premise is that Washington knows best.”
In that interview, Price said that he was open to compromise. “There’s a genuine desire to have us coalesce around a single plan so that the American people can see who’s trying to solve these challenges. I wouldn’t draw any lines in the sand other than that the path that we’re on doesn’t work,” he said.
On the third anniversary of the ACA rollout, Price delivered the weekly Republican address to criticize the law and tout the Better Way agenda. “We repeal things like the individual mandate, and we say that you should be free to pick whichever insurance plan you need, not the one Washington forces you to buy,” he said.
He’s one of only a handful of doctors serving on Capitol Hill: If Price is confirmed by the Senate, he will be the first secretary with a medical background since Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, who served under George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1993.
History regarding the Trump ticket: Price endorsed Trump near the end of the GOP primaries in May and was one of the first House committee chairmen to endorse him. Price served as the chairman of the Republican Study Committee from 2009 to 2010, a post previously held by now Vice President–elect Mike Pence.