After the resignation of US health minister Tom Price, President Donald Trump must look for a successor. It is about power over a budget of about one trillion dollars, 80,000 employees, health insurance programs, medical research and the health of the population.
Trump appointed Don J. Wright from the ministry’s leadership to the temporary health minister. Two department heads in the Ministry of Health are considered possible successors of Price: Seema Verma, who heads the medical insurance programs Medicare and Medicaid, and Scott Gottlieb, who is the head of the Food and Drug Administration.
On Friday the presidential office in Washington announced that US health minister Tom Price had resigned. Price was under pressure because he had flown into expensive private jets. In doing so, he had not only outraged the public, but also fell into disgrace with President Donald Trump. On Thursday he had only answered questions from journalists as to whether he would fire Price. “We will see.” Trump appointed Don Wright as acting secretary of HHS.
He is thus the first minister of the Trump government, who must leave in disgrace. Tom Price was also overshadowed by government setbacks when trying to end and replace Obamacare. Several attempts had failed in Congress. Price was a determined Obamacare opponent. It was one of the key electoral promises Trump made to overturn the legal compulsory insurance introduced under his predecessor Barack Obama.
Other ministers are also in the spotlight: the director of the environmental agency EPA, Scott Pruitt, also used a charter aircraft for a travel in one case. Finance Minister Steven Mnuchin was criticized a few weeks ago because he had traveled to Kentucky on the day of the Great American Eclipse with a government official. Official occasion was a visit of the American gold reserves in Ford Knox.
The White House has responded quickly and now John Kelly is responsible over Cabinet travel. The new directive should recall that every penny spent on business travel comes from the taxpayer, the White House budget manager, Mick Mulvaney, said.
In the first reactions, the chairman of the US House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, praised Price for his decision. Price is “a good man,” Ryan said in a statement.
Democrat Senator Patty Murray was of a different opinion: Price was not suitable for the post from the start, she said. According to the Democratic senator, Ron Wyden, Price had failed to fulfill the ministry’s mandate to improve health care for Americans.