Trump Healthcare Transition Analysis
President-elect Donald Trump is naming more members of his transition team as he prepares to form his cabinet and key White House position. In the healthcare arena Andrew Bremberg will take the lead on transition issues related to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Bremberg, who has been working on the Trump transition team since the Republican National Convention in July, worked at HHS for nearly eight years under the George W. Bush Administration. Bremberg later advised Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on health policy and served on Mitt Romney’s transition team in 2012. Most recently, he worked on Scott Walker’s health care team during the Wisconsin governor’s presidential campaign. He is viewed as a traditional inside professional with a strong working knowledge of the health care system.
The Trump transition team is currently focused on cabinet-level picks. Candidates to become HHS Secretary in the new Administration reportedly include: Dr. Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and former GOP presidential candidate; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; Rich Bagger (we previously worked with him when he was at Pfizer and we represented the company), executive director of the Trump Transition team and a pharmaceutical executive; and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Congressman Tom Price (GA), a Member of the House Ways & Means Committee, has also expressed interest in being Secretary.
Topping the list of health care priorities for Congressional Republicans is repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. The GOP will likely seek to pass a budget resolution, and then a reconciliation bill to repeal major portions of the health law, including the individual and employer mandates and various taxes. The budget reconciliation process will allow the Senate to advance a repeal bill with only a 51-vote majority. Both a FY 17 and FY 18 reconciliation bills are possible
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) is expected to remain as Ways and Means Committee Chairman, and Rep. Pat Tiberi as Chairman of the Health Subcommittee. Republicans will need to fill a few seats on the Committee; Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) lost his Senate race, while Rep. Todd Young (R-IN) won his. Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL) lost his re-election bid. On the Democratic side, it is not clear whether the six seats gained by the Democrats will change the Committee ratios in any way. Brian Higgins will likely regain his seat on the Ways & Means Committee to fill one of the seats vacated by Charlie Rangel and Jim McDermott. A fair number of Members on both the Republican and Democratic side are lobbying for positions on the key Ways & Means Committee.
We will continue these updates as we collect additional information on the Trump transition, particularly as it looks at sub-cabinet level positions in HHS and CMS. I have attached for folks’ review, the Ways & Means Committee document, A Better Way, which discusses their replacement for the ACA and is probably the best starting point for those looking to begin to discern what repeal and replace will look like. We will provide more updates on this process as they begin to take shape.