A surgeon for HHS secretary? Dr. Tom Price is the latest name on the short list.

Retired surgeon Ben Carson has pulled his name from consideration for the post

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) has been added to a list of candidates President-elect Donald Trump is considering to take over as HHS secretary under his administration, Jennifer Haberkorn and Rachael Bade report for Politico, citing two sources.

Price worked in private practice as an orthopedic surgeon for nearly two decades before serving as an assistant professor at Emory University School of Medicine and as medical director of the orthopedic clinic at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

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Price was elected to Congress in 2004. He is currently chair of the House Budget Committee and sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, and he endorsed Trump's candidacy early in the president-elect's campaign.

Price has opposed the Affordable Care Act (ACA). For example, Price has sponsored a bill that would repeal the ACA and provide tax credits for U.S. residents to purchase health coverage. The tax credits would be based on an individual's age instead of income.

Price also has supported expanding Americans' ability to use Health Savings Accounts and limiting tax breaks for employer-sponsored coverage.

According to Politico's "Morning eHealth," Price also has been an active voice on issues related to health IT. For example, Price has pushed for changes to the meaningful use program, including implementing a 90-day reporting period and delaying Stage 3 of the program.

"Price has been loyal to ... Trump from the outset, and his knowledge of health care is second to none," a Republican source close to the campaign told Politico, adding, "Him being in contention for HHS secretary makes perfect sense."

According to Politico, Price in an interview last week did not rule out possibly accepting an HHS appointment, saying he would be "willing to serve wherever [he] can best serve."

Carson removes himself from consideration

In related news, Ben Carson, who had been one of the top names floated to take over as HHS secretary under Trump's administration, has decided against serving in Trump's Cabinet.

Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and former head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children's Center, sought the Republican presidential nomination before voicing his support for Trump. Trump recently praised Carson's "brilliant" career as a physician, adding that he hoped Carson would "be very much involved in [his] administration in the coming years."

Carson in a Facebook post posted Tuesday confirmed that he had decided to not seek a Cabinet position in Trump's administration. He said, "I believe it is vitally important for the Trump administration to have many outspoken friends and advisers who are outside of the Washington bubble. It is vital to have independent voices of reason and reconciliation if our nation is to heal and regain its greatness."

Other names floated

According to news reports, other people under consideration for HHS secretary include:

  • Former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who previously served as secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and later as an adviser to the HHS secretary in former President George W. Bush's administration;
  • Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who founded the Columbia Hospital Corporation (which later merged with HCA) and Conservatives for Patient's Rights; and
  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), who was involved in health reform efforts during his time in Congress and later launched the Center for Health Transformation.
  • Rich Bagger, executive director of Trump's transition team and a former pharmaceutical industry executive.

(Haberkorn/Bade, Politico, 11/15; Herman, Modern Healthcare, 11/15; Pittman, "Morning eHealth," Politico, 11/16; Kamisar, The Hill, 11/15; Demko, "45," Politico, 11/15; Holland, Reuters, 11/15; Price bio, accessed 11/16; Smith, Business Insider, 11/15).

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