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Rep. Tom Price Confirmed as Next HHS Secretary

Rep. Tom Price will head up HHS, the third physician to hold that office.

Senate confirms Rep. Tom Price as HHS Secretary

Source: Thinkstock

By Kyle Murphy, PhD

- Representative Tom Price, MD, (R-GA) is the new head of the Department of Health & Human Services.

After weeks of debate, the Senate completed a vote in the early hours of February 10, one split perfectly along party lines: 52 to 47 (with one not voting).

The process of becoming HHS Secretary began for Price began back on January 18 with a hearing called by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions before moving to the Committee on Finance.

On February 2, the Senate voted 51-48 in favor of a motion to proceed to executive session for Price’s nomination. Then on Wednesday, the Senate approved the motion to invoke a cloture motion by a vote of 51 to 48.

Over the past two days the Senate has considered a unanimous consent agreement which finally led to a confirmation vote at 1:46 AM on February 10.

As reported by The New York Times, Price will become the first physician since Louis W. Sullivan, MD, to serve as HHS Secretary and the third total.

“As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Mr. Price supported proposals to shift Medicare away from its open-ended commitment to pay for medical services and toward a fixed government contribution for each beneficiary, which could be used for either private insurance or traditional Medicare. Such proposals could increase costs for some people,” Robert Pear and Thomas Kaplan reported.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) remains critical of Price’s nomination having stated that the Republican representative had “dedicated his life to destroying Medicare as we know it.”

Meanwhile, Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) noted that Price “knows more about health care policy than just about anyone.”

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