The Senate voted 52 – 47 along party lines early Friday morning to confirm Rep. Tom Price, a Georgia Republican, as secretary of health and human services, NBC News reports.
This sets the stage for a political showdown over the future of former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which the Republicans have vowed to repeal. Also in the crosshairs of the new HHS secretary are the future of abortion rights, as well as cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.
An impending assault on health care comes as more than 12.2 million people signed up for Obamacare nationwide this year, reports the New York Times. Nearly 64 percent of the enrollees live in red states that voted for President Donald Trump in November, possibly complicating the GOP’s efforts to dismantle the law.
Price’s nomination was plagued by ethical and legal questions about his health care stock trades. Democrats wanted a thorough probe into Price’s investments in companies that could benefitted from legislation he introduced.
A USA Today analysis found that Price “often misstated” when he purchased stocks or “failed” to report the purchases of biotech stocks. One biotech company, Innae Immunotherapeutics, gave him “preferential treatment” on private stock offerings, according to USA Today.
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