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6. Political Cartoon: 'Going Batty?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Going Batty?'" by John Deering from "Strange Brew".

Here's today's health policy haiku:

TRUMP’S PICK FOR HHS SECRETARY IS CONFIRMED

So the Price was right …
At least by party-line vote.
What will he do first?

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Summaries Of The News:

Administration News

7. Price Confirmed As HHS Secretary Along Party Lines After Democrats Run The Clock Out

Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., drew scrutiny from Democrats about both his health care views and his stock trading.

The New York Times: Tom Price Is Confirmed As Health Secretary
The Senate early Friday approved the nomination of Representative Tom Price to be secretary of health and human services, putting him in charge of President Trump’s efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. By a vote of 52 to 47, the Senate confirmed Mr. Price, Republican of Georgia, after a debate that focused as much on his ethics and investments as on his views on health policy. (Pear and Kaplan, 2/10)

The Associated Press: Trump's Health Secretary Pick Confirmed Narrowly For Cabinet
Democrats prolonged the debate on the 62-year-old Price until nearly 2 a.m. Friday, in arguments tinged with bitter accusations, reflecting the raw feelings enveloping Washington early in Trump's presidency. Just four of 31 votes for then-President Barack Obama's Cabinet vacancies drew at least 40 "no" votes, as did only two of 34 votes for Cabinet positions under President George W. Bush. (2/10)

The Washington Post: Polarizing HHS Nominee Confirmed By Senate On Party-Line Vote
Lacking the votes to defeat his confirmation, Democrats instead marshaled a war of words. They used the hours leading to the 2 a.m. roll call to read testimonials from Americans with severe, expensive-to-treat illnesses and gratitude to the ACA, Medicare or Medicaid — cornerstones of federal health policy that the Democrats accused the nominee of wanting to undermine. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who as a 2016 presidential candidate energized many progressive voters, accused the White House of hypocrisy. President Trump, he contended, had campaigned on promises not to cut the nation’s main entitlement programs but then chose as his HHS secretary a congressman who has long sought to weaken them. (Goldstein and Sullivan, 2/10)

USA Today: Senate Confirms Tom Price As New Health Secretary
Democrats view Price as a polarizing figure with a controversial history of trading health care stocks and whose policies will snatch insurance coverage from Americans. "He seems to have no higher priority than to terminate health coverage for millions of people,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. She said his preference for limiting women’s access to free birth control was "not only wrong, it’s arrogant." (Hjelmgaard, 2/10)

The Hill: Senate Confirms Trump's Health Chief 
“Make no mistake: In the dark hours of the early morning, with the confirmation of Secretary Price, the Republicans launch the first assault in the war on seniors,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). (Carney, 2/10)

Los Angeles Times: Sharply Divided Senate Approves Trump's Pick To Be Health Secretary
Price, a former orthopedic surgeon and longtime ally of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), has been a leading champion of the repeal campaign and a favorite of the Republican base. He was an early supporter of the tea party movement and has sponsored legislation to overhaul the healthcare system, scaling back Medicaid and replacing Obamacare’s insurance marketplaces. (Levey, 2/9)

The Wall Street Journal: Senate Confirms Tom Price As Health And Human Services Secretary
Mr. Price is also expected to follow through on an executive order, issued by Mr. Trump on the first day of his administration, directing federal agencies to pare back regulatory elements of the ACA in ways that don’t require congressional action. There is little evidence of action on that front so far, but Mr. Price’s installation could change that. One rule he could overturn, for example, is the Obama administration’s mandate that health plans include contraceptive coverage at no cost to the patient, a protection that isn’t explicitly written into the law. (Hackman, 2/10)

Politico: Senate Confirms Obamacare Opponent Price To Lead Health Department
[T]he bitter opposition to Price’s nomination — which culminated with Democrats delaying a final vote for nearly 30 hours — served as a preview of the fight to come over the future of American health care. And Price could well start that fight immediately by using his authority as secretary to roll back or not enforce select pieces of Obamacare — the mandated benefit package, perhaps, or the hot-button birth control coverage rules. (Cancryn, 2/10)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Senate Confirms Rep. Tom Price Of Georgia As Trump’s HHS Secretary
Democrats also highlighted Price’s stock trades, which they said toed congressional insider trading laws and were misrepresented in Price’s testimony before two Senate committees. “The stock trades Congressman Price made while working on healthcare policy raise serious ethical and legal questions that deserve further inquiry,” said Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, who previously pushed for ethics investigations into the timing of Price’s stock trades. (Hallerman, 2/10)

NPR: Tom Price Confirmed As Health And Human Services Secretary
With Price's confirmation, HHS now has as its leader a budget hawk who has proposed replacing the Affordable Care Act subsidies that are tied to income, with tax credits to purchase insurance. Tax credits are not determined by an individual's income level. (Kodjak, 2/10)

Kaiser Health News: Five Quick Ways New HHS Secretary Tom Price Could Change The Course Of Health Policy
After a bruising confirmation process, the Senate has confirmed Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., to head up the Department of Health and Human Services. As secretary, Price will have significant authority to rewrite the rules for the Affordable Care Act, some of which are reportedly nearly ready to be issued. But there is much more now within Price’s purview, as head of an with a budget of more than $1 trillion for the current fiscal year. (Rovner, 2/10)

Roll Call: Tom Price Becomes Leader Of Crusade To Roll Back Obamacare
Confirmation of Rep. Tom Price gives President Donald Trump his desired point man for replacing Obamacare. Now what? ... Price, the Georgia Republican, is expected to hit the ground running as secretary of Health and Human Services, taking advantage of the fact that the 2010 health care overhaul gave significant discretion to the executive branch in implementation, meaning that HHS should be able to quickly ease coverage mandates and change eligibility requirements for those people seeking to join plans outside enrollment. (Lesniewski, 2/10)

Morning Consult: Hatch: CMS Nominee To Get Confirmation Hearing Next Week
The Senate Finance Committee is expected to hold a confirmation hearing next week for Seema Verma, President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Chairman Orrin Hatch told Morning Consult on Thursday. ... Verma will likely face heavy scrutiny from Democrats for her work on conservative reforms to several state Medicaid programs. (McIntire, 2/9)

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