Georgia Congressman Tom Price will be Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, according to a source with knowledge of the process.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution first reported on the matter saying that the announcement could come as soon as Tuesday.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence told reporters on Monday, “I look forward to being back at it first thing in the morning and there will be a number of very important announcements tomorrow.”
Price has been a fierce critic of the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare, and has been a proponent of overhauling the country’s entitlement programs.
The Georgia Congressman is a third generation doctor and a staunch supporter of Trump’s candidacy, who is chair of the House Budget Committee. As Secretary of HHS, Price would become the point person for the Trump administration to start dismantling President Obama’s signature 2010 healthcare law.
The 62 year old has been a vocal advocate, leading the Republican opposition to the law, and has helped draft multiple comprehensive bills to replace the law. The Republican controlled House has voted some 60 times to eliminate all or part of Obamacare, without any real chance of accomplishing its purpose because of the Senate and President Obama in the White House.
As recently as this year, Price addressed Obamacare, suggesting that a Trump presidency would advance the House GOP healthcare agenda. “When I talk to people who work closely with Trump, what they tell me is that behind closed doors he’s one of the best listeners they’ve ever worked for or with in their life,” he said in an interview in the spring.
At the same time, Trump seems to have moderated somewhat in his stance on Obamacare. After meeting with Obama after the election, he told the Wall Street Journal that Obama recommended parts of the legislation should be kept, and that Trump “told him I will look at his suggestions, and out of respect, I will do that,” adding “either Obamacare will be amended, or repealed and replaced.”
While Price is a six term Congressman and was majority leader of the Georgia Senate, he has had no executive experience. Health and Human Services is a large department, for which Ben Carson was recently rumored as Trump’s top choice. Its budget exceeds $1 trillion and administer programs that touch the lives of more than 100 million Americans.
In addition to Obamacare, it oversees Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s health Insurance Program. It also regulates the nation’s food and drugs, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and it includes public health programs.
Newt Gingrich expressed his support for Price’s possible nomination:
Congressman Tom Price will be a great Secretary of Health and Human Services.He is the right leader to help Congress replace Obamacare.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) November 29, 2016
If nominated, Price will still need to be confirmed by the Senate.