The Senate confirmed Rep. Tom Price Thursday night to serve as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The 52-47 vote came just a day after the Senate confirmed Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, as President Trump’s attorney general.
Price, 62, is a Georgia Republican who spent his career as an orthopedic surgeon before entering Congress in 2005. In the last Congress, Price succeeded Paul Ryan -- after he became speaker -- as the chairman of the House Budget Committee, where he laid out budget proposals that called for an Obamacare repeal.
During one of his two confirmation hearings last month, Price told lawmakers President Obama’s healthcare law would be replaced piece-by-piece.
“No one is interested in pulling the rug out from anybody,” he said about potential losses of health insurance once a repeal is implemented. “We believe that it’s absolutely imperative that individuals that have health coverage be able to keep health coverage and move, hopefully, to greater choices and opportunities for them to gain the kind of coverage that they want for themselves and for their families.”
As he went through the confirmation process, Price faced accusations of insider trading after it was revealed that he bought shares in a medical device company last year and then introduced legislation in the House to help the company less than a week later. It was also previously reported that Price traded more than $300,000 in healthcare stocks over the last four years while advocating or sponsoring bills that could have affected the stocks of those companies.
Price, however, denied that he engaged in any insider trading or had any conflicts of interest, saying his investment portfolio was managed by a broker and he had no knowledge about the stocks that were bought in his name.
“The fact of the matter is that I have had no conversations with my broker about any political activity at all other than her congratulating me on my election,” Price said at one of his confirmation hearings.
Late last month, Democrats began a temporary boycott of Price and Mr. Trump’s nominee for treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin.
Oklahoma senator James Lankford released a statement in support of Price.
Dr. Tom Price has spent three decades as an orthopedic surgeon and a public servant; he is uniquely qualified to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. As Chairman of the House Budget Committee and former Policy Chairman of the House of Representatives, I have seen firsthand Dr. Price's tireless work ethic and unmatched commitment to building a better health care system for all Americans. Dr. Price is a person of character who will put the nation above politics and special interests. Oklahomans have faced an 111% increase in healthcare costs the last two years, the loss of competition on our healthcare exchange, and more centralized control of our healthcare choices, rather than personalized healthcare options. We are ready for the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act. I know Dr. Tom Price will be a great leader for the Department of Health and Human Services, and he’ll be someone who can manage a smooth transition to a better healthcare system for America.
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