In the early hours of February 10, the Senate voted to confirm Tom Price to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Price had faced two tough committee hearings before advancing to a full Senate vote, with Democratic lawmakers hammering him on his criticism of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and questions about the propriety of investments made in companies that stood to benefit from legislation Price sponsored as a U.S. Representative. (See WICs article, "HELP Committee Questions HHS Nominee," January 19, 2017.) Ultimately, Price was confirmed with a vote of 52 to 47, split along party lines.
With Price confirmed as HHS Secretary, the focus within the agency is on the person pegged to be confirmed as the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Seema Verma. (See WICs aricle, "Trump Selects Price, Verma to Lead HHS and CMS," December 5, 2016.) The HELP Committee is expected to hold a confirmation hearing on Verma next week.