November 29, 2016

PHILIP KLEIN: Here’s how Trump’s HHS pick wants to replace Obamacare.

Given that Trump offered scant details on healthcare during the campaign, [Tom] Price could have outsized influence on the incoming president’s health policy. Price happens to also be close with House Speaker Paul Ryan, who he succeeded as chair of the Budget Committee. Both of the men have similar attitudes on health policy, including overhauling Medicare and Medicaid. During an interview I did with Price for my 2015 book “Overcoming Obamacare,” we discussed his basic philosophical approach to replacing the law.

Two things should stand out to those trying to understand the thinking of the next HHS Secretary (assuming Senate confirmation).

Price told me unequivocally that reforming the system has to start with fully repealing Obamacare: “It needs to be fully repealed, because the first step out of the gate for Obamacare is a step in the wrong direction and that is for government control over every aspect of health care, so it’s hard to fix the system that they have put in place without ending that premise that government ought to be running and controlling health care.”

When Adam Smith wrote “There’s a lot of ruin in a nation,” he might as well have been prophesying America’s hundred-trillion-dollar (give or take) entitlement crisis — which remains my number one issue.

If Price can successfully gut and replace ObamaCare with something that works, it might give him (and Trump) the necessary clout to tackle the Medicare/Medicaid albatross.

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