President-elect Trump picks Dr. Price for HHS

Nov. 30, 2016
President-elect Donald Trump has nominated House Budget Committee Chair, Rep. Tom Price, MD (R-Ga.), to serve as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Price, an orthopedic surgeon, has been a staunch supporter of the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ― he introduced the Empowering Patients First Act in 2015 which would fully repeal and replace the ACA with a system that includes individual health pools and expanded health savings accounts, and would have given physician groups control over performance-based quality measures. As a physician, Dr. Price has indicated that he understands the administrative burdens placed on the physician community and has expressed concerns over the burdens of electronic health records and Meaningful Use ― indeed, he was instrumental in the passage of a blanket hardship exemption from MU requirements in 2015. He also supports allowing physicians to balance bill their Medicare patients, repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), allowing the use of in-office compounded drugs, preserving the In-Office Ancillary Services Exception to the Stark Law, and ensuring that step therapy protocols do not impede patient access to necessary treatment. 

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) has had a long-standing relationship with Dr. Price, who was a featured speaker at the AADA's 2012 Legislative Conference. The AADA has worked with him on issues such as Medicare payment reform, shortening EHR reporting periods, and ensuring that the MACRA transition included opportunities for physicians to avoid penalties.

President-elect Trump’s nominations will require a simple majority vote in the Senate. Hearings on his nominations will likely take place in early January. The AMA and other medical organizations have announced their strong support for Dr. Price's nomination.