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Factbox: Trump announces picks to fill two key healthcare posts
November 29, 2016 / 2:04 PM / a year ago

Factbox: Trump announces picks to fill two key healthcare posts

(Reuters) - Republican U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday named a vociferous Obamacare critic and a consultant to help him overhaul the nation’s healthcare system.

Republican Representative Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon from Georgia, will be Health and Human Services secretary, and consultant Seema Verma will lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a powerful agency that oversees government health programs and insurance standards, Trump said in a statement.

Below are details about his selections:

SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: U.S. REPRESENTATIVE TOM PRICE

Price, 62, is an orthopedic surgeon who heads the House of Representatives’ Budget Committee. He has long criticized Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, and has championed a plan of tax credits, expanded health savings accounts and lawsuit reforms to replace it. Price, who is also opposed to abortion, has represented the 6th Congressional District in Atlanta’s northern suburbs since 2005.

ADMINISTRATOR OF THE CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES: SEEMA VERMA

Verma, 46, worked with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, on a compromise to expand Medicaid coverage for the state’s poor with federal funding. The Indiana program requires beneficiaries to make monthly contributions to health savings accounts. She is the founder and chief executive officer of a national health policy consulting company and has provided advice on healthcare programs to Iowa, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Michigan.

U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: U.S. SENATOR JEFF SESSIONS

Sessions, 69, was the first U.S. senator to endorse Trump’s presidential bid and has been a close ally since. A conservative from Alabama, he is serving his fourth term in the chamber, where he is a member of the Judiciary Committee with oversight of federal courts, immigration, crime and terrorism.

The son of a country-store owner, he is a former Army Reserve captain and was U.S. attorney for Alabama’s Southern District under former President Ronald Reagan and later Alabama’s attorney general.

Although he was confirmed by the Senate for his U.S. attorney post in 1981, he was denied a federal judgeship in 1986 when a Senate panel failed to advance his nomination amid allegations that he had made racially charged remarks, which he denied.

Sessions must secure Senate confirmation to lead the Justice Department as attorney general, but he would only need to win majority support in the Republican-controlled chamber.

Sessions has long taken a tough stance on immigration, opposing any path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. During the Republican George W. Bush administration, he blasted a bipartisan effort to create a guest-worker program, backed by the president, for illegal immigrants.

NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: RETIRED LIEUTENANT GENERAL MICHAEL FLYNN

Flynn, 57, was an early supporter of Trump and is vice chairman of his transition team.

A former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, he began his U.S. Army career in 1981 and served deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. He later worked in the Office of the Director of Intelligence.

Once a registered Democrat, Flynn became head of the DIA in 2012 under President Barack Obama. He retired a year earlier than expected, according to media reports, and became a fierce critic of Obama’s foreign policy.

He went on to start his own consulting firm, which has come under scrutiny for its ties to a Turkish businessman. He told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday that he would sever connections with the businessman to take the post under Trump.

Flynn has said the United States should work more with Russia on global security issues. In an August interview with the Washington Post, he defended a paid speech for state-run Russian Television.

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY DIRECTOR: U.S. REPRESENTATIVE MIKE POMPEO

Pompeo, 52, is a third-term congressman from Kansas who is on the U.S House Select Intelligence Committee, which oversees the CIA, National Security Agency and cyber security. Pompeo also was a member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi investigating the 2012 attack on a U.S. compound in Libya.

The California native graduated first in his class from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served as a platoon leader in the U.S. Army before leaving the military as a captain to attend Harvard Law School.

In 1996, he moved to Kansas to start an aircraft parts company. Its decision to open a factory in Mexico came under fire when Pompeo later ran for public office. He defended his work, saying the company had created jobs in the state. His ties to Koch Industries, owned by billionaire conservative donors Charles and David Koch, have also drawn scrutiny.

He won re-election in the Nov. 8 election with 61 percent of the vote, according to Kansas’s unofficial election results online.

Pompeo has criticized former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked National Security Agency information, saying in a 2014 letter that his telecast appearance at an event undermined the ideals of “fairness and freedom.”

Reporting by Susan Heavey, Emily Stephenson, Patricia Zengerle and Eric Walsh; Editing by David Alexander, Lisa Von Ahn and W Simon

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