Health Highlights: Nov. 29, 2016

Trump Picks Obamacare Critic to be Health Secretary

A leading critic of Obamacare has been selected by President-elect Donald Trump to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Georgia Rep. Tom Price, 62, is an orthopedic surgeon and six-term congressman who chaired the House Budget Committee for the past two years, the Associated Press reported.

Price pledged to work to “to ensure we have a health care system that works for patients, families, and doctors, that leads the world in the cure and prevention of illness, and that is based on sensible rules to protect the well-being of the country while embracing its innovative spirit.”

If confirmed by the Senate, Price would take a lead role in repealing and replacing Obama’s controversial health care law — the Affordable Care Act. Trump said he would move quickly to scrap the current health care law, but has offered few details about what would replace it, the AP reported.

Trump has said he supports measures that permit young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance and that prevent insurers from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.

Price has said the Republican plan would be similar to a 2015 bill that was vetoed by President Barack Obama and sought to eliminate some of the current health care law’s main features. Those features include Medicaid expansion, subsidies to help middle-class people buy private coverage, tax penalties for people who refuse to get insurance and taxes to fund coverage expansion, the AP reported.

According to Price, Republicans want to tackle “real cost drivers” of rising health care costs such as burdensome regulations, taxes and lawsuits against medical professionals.

In related news, Trump selected Seema Verna to become administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the AP reported.

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