From Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog at MSNBC:
The reason there’s so much interest in who Donald Trump will choose for various positions in his administration is a simple principle: personnel is policy. We want to know what the Trump/Pence administration will do once it’s in power, so we keep an eye on his cabinet and White House selections to get a sense of the next White House’s substantive agenda.
And when it comes to health care, the president-elect apparently intends to go in a very dangerous direction.President-elect Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he will nominate Georgia Rep. Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services.
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.
…snip…But Price, an orthopedic surgeon by trade, is primarily focused on health care – which for the American mainstream, isn’t good news. The Republican lawmakers has spent several years crusading to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and now Donald Trump is positioning Price to do exactly that.
Note, it was just a few years ago that many House Republicans endorsed the ACA provision that requires insurers to accept all applicants, regardless of pre-existing conditions. “It’s a terrible idea,” Price said at the time.
As the Huffington Post’s Jonathan Cohn explained, Price did release his own ACA alternative – which was never endorsed or embraced by his party’s leaders – which seems especially relevant now.The “Empowering Patients First Act,” as it is known, would gut Obamacare’s regulation of insurance plans, reduce the total financial assistance going to people buying private coverage and rescind entirely the law’s expansion of Medicaid for the poorest Americans.…snip…What’s more, note that Price recently said he expects Republicans to move forward with a proposal to privatize Medicare out of existence as early as next summer.