We now know that Rep. Tom Price has been tapped by Pres. Elect Trump to head the Department of Health and Human Services. This answers, in part, one of the questions raised by a PHS 795 student in commenting on a Health Affairs blog piece on the future of the ACA:
I’d like to point out, as the author does too, that Trump never actually refers to The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, just “Obamacare.” I think the fact that he doesn’t (or can’t?) actually name the legislation is telling. The ability to talk about legislation in a specific and clear way is important, and will have implications for what happens next. If President Elect Trump can’t point to specific provisions to repeal either he’ll be unsuccessful in repealing anything, or he’ll create a mess of our health care system by derailing and defunding all of the new structures, federal offices, funding streams, and policy mechanisms that PPACA put in place. I think this piece does an excellent job of outlining scenarios and showing that political leadership really matters. It really matters who control Congress. It matters who President Trump selects as his Sec. of Health and Human Services (as well as other cabinet positions). Trump will almost certainly have enormous, and probably painful, impacts on the health system. And while interesting as a policy experiment, these changes will affect peoples’ lives in ways we probably can’t yet understand.