The Race Is On To Replace Health Secretary Tom Price

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price resigned late Friday afternoon after reports revealed that he spent over $1 million of taxpayer money on travel during his roughly 8-month tenure at the agency.

After the announcement, there are at least 4 candidates who the administration is considering to replace Price as the administrator of one of the largest federal agencies in the U.S.

1) Seema Verma

Verma is the current administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). She is a close colleague of Vice President Mike Pence and many believe her promotion to HHS Secretary will show Republicans are still committed to repeal and replacing Obamacare.

She worked hand-in-hand with congressional Republicans to push the party’s various attempts to overhaul the American health care system and institute cuts to Medicaid.

2) Scott Gottlieb 

Gottlieb serves as the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for President Donald Trump’s administration. He is a physician and a former resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.

The commissioner has toed the line between the administration’s goal of repeal and replace and the industry and patient advocacy groups that want to ensure the current system can remain in operation.

If the president chooses to appoint Gottlieb, it could signal that the administration is pivoting away from its earlier approach to health care.

3) David Shulkin

Shulkin is the current secretary for veterans affairs and is close to the president. Similar to what Price just went through, Shulkin took a hit in the media for using a partially taxpayer-funded business trip to vacation with his wife in Europe.

4) Bobby Jindal

Jindal, in addition to serving as the former Louisiana governor, notably served as an assistant secretary to HHS under former President George W. Bush. The former governor took a few swipes at the president during his 2016 bid for the presidency, which could work to nix him from the final pool going forward.

The White House has appointed Don Wright as the acting HHS secretary until the administration picks Price’s replacement.

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