5 Ways Tom Price Can Unravel Obamacare as Trump’s HHS Secretary

Health and Human Services secretary-nominee Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) arrives for testimony before the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee January 24, 2017 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony on Price's nomination to be the head of the Department of Health and Human Services. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty

Now that Tom Price serves as Health and Human Services secretary, he can wield vast discretionary power to unwind Obamacare.

Here are five ways that Secretary Price can undo Obamacare:

1.Side with the courts on Obamacare’s cost-sharing subsidies

Price could side with House Republicans on a federal lawsuit that ruled that Obama illegally appropriated funds to help low-income Americans pay for co-pays. Secretary Price could drop the Obama administration’s appeal and allow the court ruling to stand.

2. Reduce Healthcare.gov’s advertising

The HHS secretary possesses discretion over the advertising budget for the marketplace. Under Secretary Price, Health and Human Services could stop advertising healthcare.gov and Obamacare exchanges.

3.  Stop lobbying health insurers to join Obamacare exchanges

The Obama administration urged health insurance companies to join the federal exchanges. Dropping HHS’s health insurance lobbying might diminish Obamacare’s progress.

4. Allow states to implement Obamacare in a more conservative fashion

Tom Price has the authority to grant waivers to states to implement Obamacare in a more conservative manner. Although the conservative implementation must be “as least as comprehensive” as Obamacare’s mandates, it awards states flexibility.

5. Limit individual mandate by granting hardship waivers

The Trump administration has authority to grant waivers based on “hardship.” Larry Levitt, of the Kaiser Family Foundation, says there is no precise definition of hardship, allowing Secretary Price to label being forced to pay for the individual mandate is “hardship.”

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