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Trump turns to Obamacare critic to overhaul healthcare

NEW YORK - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump named a vociferous critic of Obamacare and a policy consultant on Tuesday to help him overhaul the healthcare system that Republicans have targeted since Democrats enacted sweeping reforms in 2010. Rep...

 

NEW YORK  - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump named a vociferous critic of Obamacare and a policy consultant on Tuesday to help him overhaul the healthcare system that Republicans have targeted since Democrats enacted sweeping reforms in 2010.

Republican Representative Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon from Georgia, will be Trump's Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, and consultant Seema Verma will lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a powerful agency that oversees government health programs and insurance standards.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, arriving at Trump Tower in New York, promised a "busy day" as the team continues filling key positions. The president-elect planned to announce his pick for transportation secretary, Trump spokesman Jason Miller told Fox News.

Trump, a Republican, cast Price and Verma as a "dream team" to help him once he takes office on Jan. 20 with his campaign pledge to repeal Obamacare, Democratic President Barack Obama's signature health law formally known as the Affordable Care Act.

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Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer denounced the choice of Price, calling him "far out of the mainstream" in his stance on government efforts such as Obamacare and Medicare, the insurance program for the elderly and disabled, and on Planned Parenthood, a women's health organization.

"Nominating Congressman Price to be the HHS secretary is akin to asking the fox to guard the hen house," Schumer said.

Trump, in a statement, called Price "exceptionally qualified" to help replace Obamacare. Price said there was much work to be done "to ensure we have a healthcare system that works for patients, families, and doctors."

The 2010 healthcare overhaul, aimed at expanding insurance coverage to millions more Americans, triggered a long and bitter fight between the White House and congressional Republicans, who said it created unwarranted government intervention in personal healthcare and private industry.

Trump has said he will replace Obamacare with a plan to give states more control over the Medicaid health plan for the poor and allow insurers to sell plans nationally.

Both Price and Verma will need Senate confirmation in their positions, and the Trump administration will need congressional approval to repeal and change the health law.

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