In a move that has Republicans, conservatives, and even some libertarians swooning, President-Elect Donald Trump has named Congressman Tom Price (R-GA), a veteran lawmaker and vehement critic of the Affordable Care Act, to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.
Early Tuesday morning, Trump announced his selection of Price, who is a third-generation doctor and is currently the chair of the House Budget Committee. In naming Price to join his Cabinet, Trump called Price “exceptionally qualified to shepherd our commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare and bring affordable and accessible health care to every American.”
As the HHS secretary, Price would be the nation’s top health official and a key member of the administration with regards to dismantling the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the infamous 2010 healthcare law which Trump promised during his campaign to start dismantling on his first day in the Oval Office.
Price has played a leading role in Republican opposition to the ACA and has been an influential voice in forming a Republican alternative to the ACA, as he helped draft several bills to replace it. While the House voted five dozen times to eliminate the ACA, they were never able to accomplish this goal, as President Obama made it clear that any such bill would be vetoed.
However, Price’s appointment has not come without criticism, as many liberals have lambasted him for his staunch conservative views. Steve Benen of MSNBC wrote an op-ed highlighting many of his concerns with Price’s appointment, stating:
I’ve been following Price’s career for years, and it’s hard to overstate just how conservative he is on, well, practically everything. The Georgia congressman, for example, is virulently anti-gay; during the BP oil spill, Price sided with the oil giant; and in 2011, he helped create Congress’ Tea Party Caucus. (A year later, Price seemed confused about the meaning of the word “compromise.”)
While Price’s staunch conservatism may raise some red-flags for libertarians, the support of Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), himself a physician, should put some of these concerns at ease:
My friend and fellow physician @RepTomPrice is a great pick for Secretary of HHS. Let’s repeal Obamacare & fix our broken healthcare system
— Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) November 29, 2016
While the clear, libertarian alternative to the “repeal and replace” mantra would be to “repeal and let the free market work,” the appointment of Price is clearly a step in the right direction in getting government out of healthcare.