Less than an hour after Tom Price resigned as secretary of Health and Human Services late on Friday afternoon, speculation spread like wildfire in official Washington over who would succeed physician and former Georgia Rep. Price at the helm of HHS.
Among the names most frequently heard as successors to Price are those of Bobby Jindal, former two-term Louisiana governor and 2016 Republican presidential hopeful, and Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Jindal, 46, is widely considered one of the most knowledgeable of experts in health services. As secretary of Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospital in his mid-20s, the young Jindal turned a bankrupt Medicaid program with a $400 million deficit into one with three years of surpluses totaling $220 million.
The Louisianan later served as assistant HHS secretary for Planning and Evaluation under George W. Bush before serving in Congress and as governor. Last year, Jindal was reportedly strongly considered by Trump for the top job at HHS that eventually went to Price.
Verma, a longtime health policy expert, worked closely with two Republican governors of Indiana, Mitch Daniels and current Vice President Mike Pence, to craft a revised Medicaid plan known as the "Healthy Indiana Plan." Designed for Hoosiers with low incomes, the much-praised plan offers a health savings account with high deductibles.
Pence, who has vigorously promoted fellow Hoosiers to key administration positions, is expected to lobby Trump for Verma's appointment.
Although the President promptly named Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Don Wright as the acting secretary of HHS, it is considered almost a certainty he will tap a more established figure to be his leading linebacker on repealing and replacing Obamacare.
President Trump received Price's resignation shortly after he told reporters at the White House reports of the Cabinet secretary's use of government aircraft for personal trips bothered him. As he boarded the presidential helicopter known as Marine One, Trump said he would "make a decision" on Price's fate soon.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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