This week, President-elect Donald Trump selected Rep. Tom Price, MD (R-GA) to serve as the Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). President-elect Trump has also chosen Seema Verma, a Medicaid health policy consultant, as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator. Some facts about Dr. Price and Ms. Verma important to ACG members and GI:
Tom Price, MD
- Six term Congressman from suburban Atlanta
- Orthopedic surgeon and married Betty Price, MD, an anesthesiologist and member of the Georgia House of Representatives.
- If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, will be the first physician to run HHS since 1993 (Donna Shalala, MD)
- ACG has worked closely with Dr. Price on important physician matters related to reducing Meaningful Use burdens and other physician-related issues in Medicare.
- Price drafted a bill to replace the health reform law signed in 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The provisions in the bill largely mirror Speaker Paul Ryan’s “A Better Way” white paper released in July 2016, which is not surprising, as the two are close allies. This includes: repealing the ACA, increasing the use of health savings accounts and high deductible plans, providing advanceable tax credits to help individuals purchase private health insurance (first of each month), allowing individuals to purchase insurance across state lines, lowering insurance coverage requirements and giving leeway to states to determine coverage requirements, and reforming medical malpractice insurance by capping non-economic damages.
Seema Verma, MPH
- A Medicaid health policy consultant (SVC, Inc.) based in Indiana
- Worked with Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Indiana’s Medicaid expansion and reforms.
- Also worked on other states’ Medicaid reforms, such as Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Ohio, and Tennessee.
- Some common themes of these Medicaid reforms include requiring more Medicaid beneficiary cost-sharing and contributions to health savings accounts (scaled for income), and imposing some penalty for those not re-enrolling within open periods.
Ms. Verma is seen as an expert in Medicaid, meaning that someone else in CMS/HHS may be lead the Medicare-related policies.