World

US Senate puts Price on healthcare

WASHINGTON: The US Senate voted to confirm Representative Tom Price as the top US healthcare official, putting a determined opponent of Obamacare in position to help President Donald Trump dismantle the healthcare law.

The Senate voted 52-47 to approve the conservative Georgia Republican and orthopaedic surgeon as the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, a department with an annual budget of more than US$1 trillion (S$1.4 trillion).

In his new job, Mr Price will have authority to rewrite rules implementing the 2010 Affordable Care Act, as Obamacare is officially called.

He could move quickly to rework Obamacare regulations while waiting for Republicans in Congress to keep their pledge to scrap the law entirely.

Republicans, who have the majority in Congress, are trying to craft a replacement for Obamacare but have not agreed on one. Twenty million Americans gained health insurance under the law.

Mr Price's nomination was dogged by questions about his trading in hundreds of thousands of dollars in health company stocks while working on healthcare legislation.

Democrats boycotted the committee vote on his nomination, saying he had made misleading statements about shares he bought.

Mr Price says his actions were legal and ethical. - REUTERS

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