Potential Contenders to Replace HHS Secretary Tom Price

Tom Price
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Pundits continue to speculate over who will replace Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price. Here a few of the contenders for the HHS Secretary position.

Seema Verma, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator

Verma remains a close colleague of Vice President Mike Pence. Verma worked as a consultant for then-Indiana Governor Pence to reform the state’s Medicaid program. Verma frequently visited lawmakers on the Hill to persuade Republicans to support the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Senate leadership’s Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), and the Graham-Cassidy block grant proposal. Verma helped congressmen understand how the various bills would affect their states’ Medicaid populations.

At the moment, Seema Verma remains the top contender to replace Tom Price for the HHS Secretary position.

Scott Gottlieb, Food and Drug Administration commissioner

Gottlieb has taken the reins as the head of the Food and Drug Administration to combat America’s opioid crisis and speed up the approval process for generic pharmaceuticals as a way to lower drug costs.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)

Axios reported that sources close to the selection process suggest that President Donald Trump thinks highly of Sen. Barrasso and believes Barrasso serves as one of the strongest voices for Obamacare repeal in Congress. However, Sen. Barrasso serves as the Senate Republican Policy Committee chairman, and administration officials argue it could be difficult to convince the senator to give up his influential Senate post.

Other candidates

The New York Times suggested that Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin could serve as a potential replacement for Tom Price, largely due to his experience overhauling the Veterans Affairs Department.

Heritage Action chief executive Michael Needham suggested that Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) could serve as a potential HHS Secretary. Johnson, a sponsor of the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill, could signal that the president remains committed to the block grant approach to repealing Obamacare.