US President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday nominated a fierce Obamacare critic as health secretary, indicating he plans to fulfil a campaign promise to tear up the divisive healthcare reform law.
Tom Price, a congressman from Georgia and former orthopaedic surgeon, "is exceptionally qualified to shepherd our commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare and bring affordable and accessible healthcare to every American," Trump said in a statement announcing his pick for head of the Department of Health and Human Services.
President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reform, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, has provided health coverage to 20mn Americans and pushed the level of uninsured to a historic low of less than 10%.
But Obamacare also caused health insurance prices to spike among other groups, and led to declining coverage among many plans.
However, President-elect Trump has said he hoped to preserve two of the most popular features: allowing children to stay on their parents' plans until age 26, and preventing insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
"There is much work to be done to ensure we have a healthcare system that works for patients, families, and doctors; that leads the world in the cure and prevention of illness; and that is based on sensible rules to protect the well-being of the country while embracing its innovative spirit," Price said in a statement.
His nomination was swiftly criticised by Democrats, with incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer calling it "akin to asking the fox to guard the hen house."
"Congressman Price has proven to be far out of the mainstream of what Americans want when it comes to Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, and Planned Parenthood," he said in a statement.
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