| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Nov 29 President-elect Donald Trump on
Tuesday named a vociferous Obamacare critic and an Indiana
policy consultant to help him overhaul the U.S. healthcare
Republican Representative Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon
from Georgia, will be Trump's 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 cast Price and Verma as a "dream team" to help him
once he takes office on Jan. 20 with his campaign pledge to
repeal Obamacare, President Barack Obama's signature health law
formally known as the Affordable Care Act.
Of Price, Trump said in a statement: "He is exceptionally
qualified to shepherd our commitment to repeal and replace
Obamacare and bring affordable and accessible healthcare to
Price said there was much work to be done "to ensure we have
a healthcare system that works for patients, families, and
doctors" based on "sensible rules to protect the well-being of
the country while embracing its innovative spirit."
The 2010 Obamacare law triggered a long and bitter political
battle between the White House and congressional Republicans,
who said it created unwarranted government intervention in
personal healthcare and private industry.
Trump has said he will replace Obamacare with a plan to give
states more control over the Medicaid health plan for the poor
and allow insurers to sell plans nationally.
Both positions require Senate confirmation, and the Trump
administration will need congressional approval to repeal and
replace the health law.
Price, an early Trump supporter from the U.S. House of
Representatives, is chairman of the budget committee. He has
long championed a plan of tax credits, expanded health savings
accounts and lawsuit reforms to replace Obamacare.
Verma 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.
Trump said Verma had decades of experience advising on
Medicare and Medicaid policy and helping states navigate
complicated healthcare systems.
"Together, Chairman Price and Seema Verma are the dream team
that will transform our healthcare system for the benefit of all
Americans," he said.
Price campaigned with Trump because he promised to overhaul
Obamacare. However, Trump's position on the health insurance
program appeared to soften after he met Obama following the
hard-fought Nov. 8 election.
Obama has acknowledged the law could use improvements but
has credited Obamacare with cutting the number of uninsured
Americans from 49 million in 2010 to 29 million in 2015. Much of
that drop is due to the law's provision allowing states to
Trump said he would consider keeping provisions in the law
that let parents keep adult children up to age 26 on insurance
policies and bar insurers from denying coverage to people with
Price and Verma are two of about 70 people with whom Trump
has met as he looks to shape his White House and Cabinet team.
Trump is expected to reveal an additional Cabinet pick on
Tuesday while continuing to consider his options for the three
biggest positions - secretaries of state, defense and Treasury.
Trump saw retired General David Petraeus, a potential
candidate for the State Department or the Pentagon, on Monday.
On Tuesday, he is expected to meet with U.S. Senator Bob Corker
of Tennessee, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee and later have dinner with Mitt Romney.
Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, and Corker
are in the running for secretary of state, along with former New
York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.