Tom Price holds the keys to Obamacare after Senate bill collapse

U.S. Rep. Tom Price. AJC file

— With the Senate’s health care overhaul dead in its current form, Obamacare lives another day.

That leaves a familiar Georgia face, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, in charge of implementing the law, one that he’s vilified for the last seven years.

As health chief, the former Roswell congressman has nearly unparalleled power to determine how health care gets delivered in America. Through special rule makings, guidance and regulatory tweaks at HHS, Price can make what are essentially unilateral changes to loosen the grip of the Affordable Care Act or tweak aspects of Medicare that could have a major impact on doctors and patients.

Read more: Georgia stakeholders anxious and confused over health care fight 

Millions of people who depend on the exchanges created by Obamacare are reliant on Price and HHS to make sure the country’s individual markets are run properly.

For his part, Price has taken every turn possible to express his displeasure with the Affordable Care Act and has suggested he’ll do little to bolster its markets, particularly after President Donald Trump called for the law to collapse under its own weight.

“Obamacare is flawed, failing, and harming the American people with higher costs and fewer healthcare choices,” Price said Tuesday.

Read more about Secretary Price’s power to shape Obamacare on myAJC.


Reader Comments 1


Don't know if Tom walks like a duck but he sure is a quack.


“Obamacare is flawed, failing, and harming the American people with higher costs and fewer healthcare choices,” Price said Tuesday.

The way to reduce the cost of health insurance is to reduce coverage.  But when that is done, it is important to realize that the health care conditions that prompted those higher costs are still there.   The costs may be able to be reduced by educating people on living a better life style, on how to make best use of health care, and providing economical choices, such as health clinics in rural and urban areas rather than having people rely on expensive emergency room hospital visits.  

Price talks about the problem being health care choices but he means health insurance choices that limit coverage.  Most insurance limits health care choices already by limiting the doctors, hospitals, procedures, and drugs that are covered.  The ACA did increase the choices more people had in health care and it did decrease the choices in health insurance by requring insurers to offer plans that did provide more coverage of illnesses that exist anyway.  The ACA revealed the real cost of health care by including more real people with real health care needs in the system.

What is Price responsible for:  health insurance or health care?  

Price needs to focus on accessibility of health care for more people and not health insurance.  Maybe, just maybe, relying on health insurance as the mechanism for "managing" the health care market is the wrong tool.


  1. […] a state) I think we’re in a really good position. Because we’ve got Health Secretary Tom Price who of course loves Georgia and is really interested in helping to solve some of the issues […]