Rep. Tom Price has emerged as the clear front-runner to serve as Donald Trump’s secretary of health and human services, according to several Republican sources close to the transition team.
Price, a physician and an ardent opponent of Obamacare, would lead the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act and potentially help Congress enact a new health plan. His selection would be a strong embrace of the House’s effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.
The Trump transition team did not respond to a request for comment.
The Georgia Republican, who chairs the House Budget Committee, has been one of the GOP’s top voices on Obamacare repeal and other health care issues. He was one of the first Republicans to introduce an alternative to Obamacare when Democrats were debating health care reform in 2009 and 2010.
An early Trump supporter, Price and several other House committee chairmen endorsed the president-elect in May. Price also campaigned with Trump at an Obamacare repeal rally a week before the election.
“The things that we all believe about health care – we want a system that is affordable for everybody, that is accessible for everybody, that is of the highest quality and provides choices for patients – all of those things have been destroyed by Obamacare,” Price said at the rally. That is “why we need Donald Trump and Mike Pence to work with us and make sure we put in place a real health solution.”
Price was spotted at Trump Tower in New York on Wednesday, a day after POLITICO reported that he was in the running for the HHS job.
Given his connections to the House and friendship with House Speaker Paul Ryan, Price could be a key player in helping the House pass an Obamacare replacement plan. Price is also close with Vice President-elect Mike Pence; both are former chairs of the conservative House Republican Study Committee.