Media reports on the morning of Nov. 11 are reporting that the transition team for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under President-elect Donald Trump will be led by Andrew Bremberg, who most recently served as policy director for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s presidential campaign, and who previously worked at the federal healthcare agency under President George W. Bush administration.
After working at HHS under the Bush administration for nearly eight years, Bremberg “spent the next few years outside of government at an organization that operates federally sponsored research and development centers before taking a job with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell,” and then eventually serving as Walker’s GOP primary presidential campaign as policy director, according to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal that looked into the leading candidates who could form Trump’s transition team.
Currently, HHS is led by Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who was sworn in as the 22nd Secretary of Health & Human Services on June 9, 2014. Before being tapped by President Obama to lead the agency to replace then-HHS lead Kathleen Sebelius, Burwell served as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). As the Secretary of HHS, Burwell oversees more than 77,000 employees, and has worked closely with other federal agencies within it, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) on healthcare reform, including leading national health IT efforts.
Now, Bremberg will lead the transition into the new regime. Reports have suggested that Ben Carson, a surgeon and former GOP presidential candidate this year, who ended up losing to Trump in the Republican primaries; Florida Gov. Rick Scott; and Newt Gingrich, an American political consultant and former Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, would all be considered as Burwell’s successor.
According to that WSJ report, Bremberg also served on the abbreviated transition team for Mitt Romney in 2012, where he was brought in by more senior members to help on health policy. “That group, stocked with conservative health policy luminaries, had planned to overturn the then-two-year-old Affordable Care Act by changing the federal government’s interpretation of the law in a way that would have prevented its tax credits from going into effect in most parts of the country. That was intended to start the dissolution of the law and, in turn, force Democrats to cooperate in shaping the fallout,” according to the report.
But now, it looks like Bremberg, with solid experience in healthcare policy, will be in that role. It remains unclear on what Trump’s specific position on health IT is, though he has talked about telehealth for veterans on his campaign trail. What’s more, Trump has been highly outspoken about his desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and questions have thus been raised about how this will affect healthcare’s value-based future.
Healthcare Informatics will have more on this story as it continues to unfold.
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