Put a doctor in charge: Confirm Tom Price at HHS
© Greg Nash

The unconventional campaign of President Trump succeeded in 2016 in no small measure because voters of faith turned out in record numbers and voted overwhelmingly for him to bring change to Washington. Fueling that hunger for change was the fulfillment of one of President Trump’s central campaign promises, to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

A wide swath of the electorate, including voters of faith, overwhelmingly supported in November, and continue to support, full and total repeal and replacement of ObamaCare.

The law has many fatal flaws, including higher insurance premiums for families and individuals, bloated state budgets through the expansion of Medicaid (which is projected to be financially insolvent in 11 years), and an unconstitutional mandate that requires faith-based organizations to provide medical services that assault the consciences and violate the faith of millions of Americans, especially Roman Catholics and evangelicals.

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In the first few weeks of the Trump administration the President has shown his ability to bring about swift and dramatic change in Washington by delivering on his campaign promises to secure our borders and nominate a supremely qualified strict constructionist to the U.S. Supreme Court. To continue to deliver on those campaign promises, the President needs his Cabinet in place to advance his agenda, including confirming Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).

 

No one knows better than Price how to replace ObamaCare and repair the damage it has done to our healthcare system. As a member of the House leadership, he authored one of the central legislative vehicles for replacing ObamaCare with free-market reforms that allow patients and doctors, not insurance company and government bureaucrats, to make healthcare decisions. Price’s legislation, which should serve as the blueprint for what comes after ObamaCare, included sunsetting ObamaCare’s draconian regulations and taxes, allowing insurance companies to market policies across state lines, tax credits for the purchase of health insurance, health savings accounts, and allowing policies to offer a mix of catastrophic and preventative care that are therefore more affordable.

As a physician, Tom Price is uniquely qualified to lead HHS. An accomplished orthopedic surgeon, he helped launch one of the most innovative orthopedic surgical groups in Georgia, if not the nation. He knows first-hand the challenges inside America’s healthcare system. As a former Majority Leader of the Georgia State Senate, Tom worked to preserve the above-industry-standard trauma care at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, one of the best in the Southeastern United States. Because he has served in the state legislature and as a member of Congress,Price knows the legislative process and is ideally suited to work with Congress on multi-stage process of repealing ObamaCare. He served as chairman of the Budget Committee, which means he knows how healthcare policy can impact entitlement spending and budget planning.

Liberal special interests and the media have reacted to Price’s nomination in a predictable manner, by distorting his stellar record in Congress and impugning his character. These charges won’t stick. Tom Price is a man of impeccable integrity who has conducted both his public service and his personal investments (including his investments in the healthcare sector) consistent with high ethical standards and a laser-like focus on innovation that will cure diseases and save lives.

Price’s nomination is not about the future of Medicare or Medicaid per se, which will have to be made financially sound on a separate track. It is about the most deeply unpopular government program in our lifetimes, namely ObamaCare, being repealed without disrupting the healthcare system. It is also about President Trump being allowed to keep his promises to the American people.

Democrats in the Senate are doubling down on a strategy of obstruction, not only of President Trump but of the will of the American people. They should be wary of a strategy of character assassination and negativity that will further estrange the Democratic party from voters of faith in “fly over country.” If only for their own self-interest, Democrats should not force Senators up for re-election in 2018, especially those in states where President Trump won, to walk the plank by opposing Dr. Price’s nomination. The folks who live in these states want ObamaCare repealed, and they expect their Senators to work with their colleagues and Tom Price to begin working immediately to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

Make no mistake: the confirmation of Tom Price is one of the first votes in a long series to end ObamaCare and put patients first. That is why the Senate should confirm him and put a physician at the helm of modernizing our healthcare system.

Ralph Reed is the chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.