Trump’s Health Secretary Pick Will Radically Alter US Healthcare

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 7 - House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, R-Ga., speaks at a signing ceremony for the "Restoring Americans Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015" at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. Rep. Price, who is also a physician, is the sponsor of the legislation which is designed to eliminate key parts of President Barack Obama's health care law and to stop taxpayer funds from going to Planned Parenthood. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
(Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

American healthcare is likely about to get a drastic overhaul as Donald Trump has selected a pick for health secretary who is openly opposed to the Affordable Care Act.

The President-elect has selected House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R., GA) to lead the Health and Human Services Department. Price has been pushing his own agenda, the Empowering Patients First Act, since 2009.

“We think it’s important that Washington not be in charge of health care,” said Price earlier this summer, according to the Wall Street Journal.

His act includes refundable, age-adjusted tax credits for people to buy insurance if they don’t have access to a government program or employer. For those who utilize government programs such as Medicaid or Medicare, they could opt and receive tax credits towards the cost of private coverage. Price’s plan also includes a one-time credit aimed at boosting health savings accounts.

Some elements of the Affordable Care Act will still remain, albeit in a different package. Those with pre-existing conditions will still have access to health insurance through states setting up “high-risk” pools and other similar programs for these enrollees, as well as establishing new rules that allow insurers to sell policies across state lines.

States that currently allow medical marijuana to treat chronic pain and severe forms of chronic illness may also be impacted by Trump’s pick for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. The Alabama Republican is vehemently anti-pot and has spoken out on the subject for more than 30 years, claiming that those who use it suffer from a character flaw.

During a Senate drug hearing last April, Sessions declared that “we need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it’s in fact a very real danger.”

He also raised eyebrows by insisting that government lawmakers needed to get the word out that “this drug is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny … and to send that message with clarity that good people don’t smoke marijuana.”