With the resignation of Tom Price, speculation has begun as to who will succeed him.
The nomination and confirmation of Price raised hopes that a physician serving as HHS secretary would provide a major corrective to the lunacy that is taking place. However, Price was not the strongest of conservatives; and advocated an unwise, redistribution-oriented tax credit approach to replacing Obamacare.
Obamacare was not repealed on his watch. And he did not hardly even begin to propose regulations deconstructing it. He was apparently waiting to see what Congress would do. And we thus have nothing so far.
To his credit, he reduced dramatically the number of physicians subject to the onerous MACRA requirements under Medicare. But that is only one part of the socialist environment with which we are dealing. MACRA had been enacted into law by congressional Republicans.
An article on One America News today states that Bobby Jindal and Seema Verma are being considered to replace Price.
I was very impressed with some quotes from Verma in a recent article:
"(O)ver the past few years, regulations have tilted more towards creating burdens than towards serving as a safeguard for the programs. This shift is now having a negative impact on patient care, hindering innovation and increasing healthcare costs.”
Verma said the agency must make it easier for providers to “focus on doing the work that patients and families need them to do without causing them to be subject to excessive regulatory and administrative burden.”
In particular, she took aim at the burdensome regulations governing electronic health records, which she contends have made the practice of medicine difficult.
“We have heard time and again that documentation for payment and for quality reporting is unnecessarily time-consuming and keeps clinicians working late into the night just to keep up on paperwork,” Verma wrote. “Electronic health records that were supposed to make providers’ lives easier by freeing up more time to spend on patient care have distanced them from their patients. New payment structures that were meant to increase coordination have added yet another layer of rules and requirements. No one went into medicine to become a paperwork expert.”
At the same time, she thanked providers for offering their thoughts on how to simplify CMS regulations, promising to continue to engage with hospitals and physicians on their concerns.
“To make sure we are addressing the actual pain points that doctors feel, we are visiting them where they work, listening to their stories about the challenges they face, and bringing those lessons back to CMS,” Verma noted. “We are listening, integrating the feedback we hear into our work at CMS, and making changes that will make it easier for doctors, nurses and other clinicians to do what they entered medicine to do: take care of those in need.”
Verma is Trump's Medicare/Medicaid administrator. Her past background is a mixed bag, however. She is not a physician, but rather a health policy consultant by trade. She has assisted various states to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. Slate claims she is less likely to sabotage Obamacare than Price, which I view as a negative.
It would be interesting to see what Bobby Jindal might say regarding his vision for health care. He is a pretty smart guy.
Having a physician in this role would be very helpful. And we have one limited-government, constitutionally conservative physician who has ample governmental and health care experience. His name is Dr. Ron Paul.