HomeWashington Letter2017 ▶ Health and Human Services Secretary Nominee Appears Before Senate Committee
Health and Human Services Secretary Nominee Appears Before Senate Committee

January 2017

This week, President-elect Trump's nominee for the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) had a courtesy hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, chaired by Sen. Alexander (R-TN).

Much of the hearing focused on HELP committee members' questions to Price regarding the incoming administration's plan to replace the Affordable Care Act and his financial holdings. Price's comments on the ACA replacement plan differed somewhat from President Trump's comments in recent days, whose statements have indicated support for universal health insurance coverage. He instead stated that "all Americans" would have access to the high quality care that they desire in the administration's ACA replacement plan.

Although President Trump has stated that he intends to allow Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, Price would not commit to this policy action, instead saying that high drug prices are due to several factors and he will examine these closely. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) also drew attention to Price's vote against the law granting the Food and Drug Administration authority over tobacco and his past financial holdings in the tobacco industry.

Concerning Medicaid, although he expressed some support for the program, Price refused to distance himself from budget legislation that he has drafted as chair of the House Budget Committee that proposed reducing funding for the program by $1 trillion over 10 years.

Price has a hearing with the Senate Finance Committee, which must decide whether to approve of his nomination, on Jan. 24. Following this committee action his nomination will go to the full Senate for approval. At this point, Price is expected to be confirmed.

Last Reviewed: October 2017