Speculations swirl around Trump HHS leadership pick

Dive Brief:

  • Following President-elect Trump's unexpected win last week, his inner circle is in a flurry of activity as they double down on transition plans that were perhaps not as fully fleshed out as they would have been, had a win been more highly anticipated, various news sources have reported.
  • Among the immediate decisions being discussed – aside from what to do with Obamacare – are who to appoint to lead the HHS.
  • Those leadership decisions can be expected to inform the immediate direction of healthcare as much or more than anything else, given how the repeal of Obamacare was among the GOP candidate's top campaign promises and is being considered for action on his January 20 inauguration day, his campaign manager told CNN on Sunday.

Dive Insight:

It's currently anyone's guess what Trump will ultimately do, with weekend reports indicating that since speaking with President Obama, Trump has actually voiced openness to the possibility of keeping some provisions of the ACA rather than repealing it entirely, such as allowing adult children to remain on their parents' health plans up to age 26, and barring insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. 

With much of Trump's proposed U.S. vision so far involving massive shake-ups and few concrete details, his advisors could arguably be about to provide a historic level of influence on coming policy.

Here is what insiders say is happening so far for the role of HHS Secretary. Politico has reported Ben Carson – former Trump GOP rival and retired neurosurgeon – as a top contender. The Wall Street Journal namechecked Bobby Jindal – former Louisiana governor and also a former Trump GOP rival – noting he previously served as secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and as an HHS adviser under the administration of former President George W. Bush.

According to Advisory Board, other candidates for the role include Rich Bagger, executive director of Trump's transition team and a former pharmaceutical industry executive; Florida Gov. Rick Scott, founder of the Columbia Hospital Corporation and Conservatives for Patient's Rights; and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has previously been involved in health reform and launched the Center for Health Transformation.

Trump's HHS transition team is to be headed by Andrew Bremberg, who previously worked at the agency under the George W. Bush administration and served as policy director for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s presidential campaign.

Filed Under: Policy & Regulation
Top image credit: Ad Meskens