President-Elect Trump Begins to Make Key Healthcare Nominations; Congressional Leadership Positions Take Shape

Dec. 11, 2016

President-Elect Donald Trump recently made two nominations to top healthcare positions import to the life sciences sector: Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia), who worked as an orthopedic doctor before coming to Congress, to serve as Secretary of U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS), and Seema Verma, an Indiana-based health care consultant, to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as Administrator. Both positions require Senate confirmation.

Rep. Tom Price has served in the House of Representatives since 2005 and has been a vocal opponent to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) since its 2010 passage. As Secretary, Price is likely to implement a conservative healthcare agenda that could potentially explore free-market privatization, state flexibility and changes to the U.S. tax code. Seema Verma, who currently serves as founder and CEO of SVC, Inc., a health policy consulting firm, has extensive experience in the Medicaid space having worked closely with former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (R) and Vice President-Elect Mike Pence on the “Healthy Indiana” insurance coverage reforms and Medicaid expansion. In addition, Verma was involved in Iowa’s move to enact Medicaid managed care and helped craft Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin’s (R) Medicaid expansion waiver.

Congressional Leadership Positions Take Shape

In the House of Representatives, leadership positions are also starting to take shape for the 115th Congress. Of note in the California congressional delegation, Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Van Nuys) was elected to a newly-created House Democratic Caucus Leadership position intended for members who have been in Congress less than 5 years; Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Cerritos) was elected to serve as House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair; Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Pleasanton) will serve as Co-Chair of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee; and Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) will serve as the sophomore representative to House Republican Leadership. These posts are in addition to Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) continuing as House Majority Leader and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) retaining her position as House Minority leader.

Committee assignments, including to the important Energy & Commerce Committee, will be announced by Democrats before the end of December, while Republicans will not announce new assignments until the new year.

Questions? Please contact Meghan Drenan, CLSA’s Associate Director, Federal Government Relations (