Healthcare industry reaction to President-elect Donald J. Trump's choices to head the HHS and CMS was largely positive.
Calling his nominees "the dream team that will transform our healthcare system for the benefit of all Americans," President-elect Donald J. Trump last week announced his plan to nominate Chairman of the House Budget Committee Congressman Tom Price, M.D. (GA-06) as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Seema Verma as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
"Chairman Price, a renowned physician, has earned a reputation for being a tireless problem solver and the go-to expert on healthcare policy," said President-elect Trump in a news release. "He is exceptionally qualified to shepherd our commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare and bring affordable and accessible healthcare to every American."
Prior to serving in Washington, Rep. Price worked in private practice as an orthopedic surgeon for nearly 20 years.
In the same announcement, the President-elect called Seema Verma, his nominee for CMS administrator, one of the leading experts in the country on Medicare and Medicaid. "She has decades of experience advising on Medicare and Medicaid policy and helping states navigate our complicated systems,” he said.
Seema Verma is the president, CEO and founder of SVC, Inc., a national health policy consulting company. For more than 20 years, Ms. Verma has worked extensively on a variety of policy and strategic projects involving Medicaid, insurance, and public health, working with governors' offices, state Medicaid agencies, state health departments, state insurance departments, as well as the federal government, private companies and foundations.
Ms. Verma has extensive experience redesigning Medicaid programs in several states. Ms. Verma is the architect of the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP), the nation's first consumer-directed Medicaid program, and served as the State of Indiana’s health reform lead following the ACA's passage in 2010.
Responding to the announcement, the American Medical Association (AMA) said it supports the nomination of Dr. Tom Price, who would be the first physician to serve as HHS secretary since President George H.W. Bush appointed Louis W. Sullivan, MD, in 1989, and only the third doctor in the HHS's 63-year history.
In a statement, Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, AMA Board Chair, cited decades of interactions with Dr. Price as a member of the AMA House of Delegates, Georgia state senator and House of Representatives. "Over these years, there have been important policy issues on which we agreed (medical liability reform) and others on which we disagreed (passage of the Affordable Care Act). Two things that have been consistent are [Dr. Price's] understanding of the many challenges facing patients and physicians today, and his willingness to listen directly to concerns expressed by the AMA and other physician organizations."
On the payor side, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the national trade association representing the health insurance community, said in a statement that it anticipates cooperative, collaborative relationships with the new leaders of HHS and CMS.
"For many years, Dr. Price has been committed to ensuring that patients and consumers are well-served," said Marilyn Tavenner, AHIP president and CEO. "He will bring a balanced and thoughtful perspective to his role as Secretary of HHS. We look forward to working with him to promote competition, increase choice, and lower costs for every consumer.
"Likewise, we look forward to working with Seema Verma to strengthen our nation's healthcare system and empower Americans to improve their health and financial well-being, particularly those who depend on the valuable support and services provided through Medicare and Medicaid."
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