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HHS Nominee Confirmation Hearings Elicit Few Details

By Christopher Cheney  
   January 25, 2017

President Trump's pick for Health & Human Services secretary has suggested there are opportunities to advance healthcare reform efforts, but has offered few details as to how, a pair of healthcare policy experts say.

Two confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump's nominee to serve as Department of Health & Human Services secretary have generated more questions than answers about the future of healthcare reform, policy experts say.

Last week, Tom Price, MD, who has served as a Republican member of the House of Representatives since 2005, answered questions for nearly four hours during a hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP).

On Tuesday, he faced an additional four hours of questioning before the Senate Committee on Finance. [View video.]

"We have got to see the details," said Laura Wooster, MPH, interim senior vice president of public policy at the American Osteopathic Association.

"The senators have only seven minutes to have their speech, ask their questions, then give Dr. Price an opportunity to respond," Wooster said.

"We are getting very small soundbites, and it is very hard to determine whether his answers, on the face of them alone, are satisfying or not."

"Should Dr. Price be confirmed, we look forward to seeing more proposals of what he plans to do and how he plans to offer an opportunity for Americans to have access to affordable healthcare," she added.

During Tuesday's hearing, Price avoided providing detailed answers on a host of policy questions, repeatedly saying he would follow the lead of Congress on the setting of policy.

Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care​ editor at HealthLeaders.

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