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Trump picks Rep. Tom Price to be secretary of health

Price has had a leading role in Congress in the Republican quest to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which the president-elect has made one of his administration's top priorities.

By Stephen Feller
Trump picks Rep. Tom Price to be secretary of health
House Budget Chairman Tom Price, R-Ga., pictured introducing the Republican FY2016 budget resolution in March, was chosen by President-elect Donald Trump to run the Department of Health and Human Services, according to his transition team. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- President-elect Donald Trump has chosen one of the biggest critics of the Affordable Care Act to run the Department of Health and Human Services, according to his transition team.

Trump is expected to nominate Rep. Tom Price, a six-term Republican from Georgia, to run the HHS, which is also responsible for Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, the FDA and various federal medical research agencies.

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Price is a former orthopedic surgeon who has been one of the fiercest critics of President Barack Obama's effort to reform health insurance, the main result of which was the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

The ACA established a framework for state-run insurance exchanges, including banning health insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and requiring insurers to permit parents to keep their children on their plans until age 26. ACA, also known as Obamacare, requires all Americans to have health insurance or face a tax penalty.

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The hefty regulations of the law have motivated Republicans in Congress to work to repeal the ACA since it was passed six years ago.

"We think it's important that Washington not be in charge of healthcare," Price told The Wall Street Journal earlier this year. "The problem that I have with Obamacare is that its premise is that Washington knows best."

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Among the ACA provisions Price has been most critical of is the requirement that insurance plans cover the cost of contraception, which he has opposed federal funding for but voted in favor of while a member of the Georgia state legislature. The difference, he said in 2012, is that the state was making the decision, rather than the federal government.

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Price has worked with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to create a Republican replacement built around health savings accounts and capping how much employers can spend on providing employee health insurance before being taxed.

The plan would also motivate states to create insurance programs for people with pre-existing medical conditions and would allow insurers to sell policies across state lines, he said.

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