6 Things to Know About HHS Nominee Tom Price

On Thursday, Rep. Tom Price, M.D. (R-Ga.) will testify in his first of two Senate confirmation hearings on his appointment by President-elect Donald Trump as Secretary of Health and Human Services. The second hearing, which will take place with the Senate Committee on Finance, is slated for Wednesday, January 24.

As his former press secretary, I’ve been very public about my admiration and loyalty to Dr. Price. I’ve seen firsthand his intellectual curiosity, earnest decency and overall competency to successfully fill this important role during a chaotic time for health care in America.

Opportunity Lives is pleased to share an insider’s view of the six things you should know about HHS nominee Tom Price:

1. Dr. Price is one of the country’s most successful orthopedic surgeons

Rep. Tom Price, M.D., is a third generation physician. His wife, Betty, is an anesthesiologist he met in the operating room. Dr. Price founded his own orthopedic surgery practice, which would go on to be the largest in the U.S. He also served as the chair of the orthopedic surgery department at Emory University, where he was an associate professor teaching students at a hospital that provided care for many low income people in the metro Atlanta area. His ingenuity and thorough understanding of medicine proved crucial to saving patients’ lives when other doctors had dismissed their symptoms as routine.

2. Dr. Price led a GOP takeover of the Georgia State Senate, and as a result, he was elected Majority Leader

Friends encouraged Dr. Price to run for the Georgia State Senate. In 1996, he won his first election, defeating his Democratic challenger 71 percent to 29 percent. At that time, Democrats held the majority in the state’s legislature. Dr. Price took the initiative to organize efforts to elect conservatives across Georgia, helping the GOP take control of the chamber. In recognition for his leadership, his colleagues elected Dr. Price the first Republican Senate Majority Leader in Georgia history.

3. In 2004, Dr. Price was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He has since won every election in a landslide

Dr. Price won his first election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2004. After defeating several primary challengers, he ran unopposed in the general election. He has since been reelected by his constituents six times, garnering no less than 62 percent of the vote each general election contest, even as his district drastically changed due to post-2010 census redistricting.

4. Dr. Price’s Congressional work spans multiple subject areas, and he most recently served as the chairman of the House Budget Committee

Since 2005, Dr. Price has served on a variety of Congressional committees, but his work has primarily focused on economic policy. He has served on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, the House Committee on Ways and Means, the House Committee on Financial Services and, most recently, as the chairman of the House Committee on the Budget. He has been instrumental in the creation of several fiscal reform packages on labor relations, tax reform and budgetary procedure. He has passed balanced budgets that eliminate the deficit, pay off the national debt and bring fiscal sanity to Washington.

5. Dr. Price was the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, and he introduced an alternative to Obamacare before it even passed

Dr. Price was one of the original conservative leaders in the House. During President Obama’s first two years in office, he chaired the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative congressman whose membership rolls have swelled in recent years. During this time, Dr. Price introduced a patient-centered alternative to Obamacare, The Empowering Patients First Act, before President Obama’s law even passed. Dr. Price has been a vocal opponent to Obamacare, countering that Republicans had solutions to improve health care by removing governmental interference in patients’ care and empowering individuals, families and doctors instead of Washington. He has re-introduced the legislation in every Congress since, offering four revised versions of the original bill since its initial filing in the 110th Congress.

6. Despite all of the Democrats’ efforts, it is widely expected he’ll enjoy solid GOP backing

Even though Democrats have launched a dishonest campaign against Dr. Price, Congressional watchers predict he’ll receive unanimous or near-unanimous support from Senate Republicans during his confirmation hearing. Once he becomes HHS Secretary, Dr. Price will be instrumental in finally repealing Obamacare and replacing it with solutions that actually work for patients. At a time when so many Americans are hurting because of this law, Dr. Price’s ideas, record and expertise are a welcome relief.

Ellen Carmichael is a senior writer for Opportunity Lives. Follow her on Twitter @ellencarmichael.