Trump slammed for appointing a 'fox to guard the hen house'
AMERICAN president-elect Donald Trump has named a staunch critic of Obamacare and a health policy expert to help him overhaul the healthcare system that Republicans have targeted since Democrats enacted sweeping reforms in 2010.
Republican representative Tom Price, an orthopaedic surgeon from Georgia, will be Mr Trump's Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, and consultant Seema Verma will lead the Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a powerful agency that oversees government health programmes and insurance standards.
Mr Trump cast Mr Price and Ms Verma as a "dream team" to help him once he takes office with his campaign pledge to repeal Obamacare, President Barack Obama's signature health law formally known as the Affordable Care Act.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer denounced the choice of Mr Price, calling him "far out of the mainstream" in his stance on government efforts such as Obamacare and Medicare, the insurance programme for the elderly and disabled, and on Planned Parenthood, a women's health organisation.
"Nominating Congressman Price to be the HHS secretary is akin to asking the fox to guard the hen house," Mr Schumer said.
Mr Trump called Mr Price "exceptionally qualified" to help replace Obamacare. Mr Price said there was much work to be done "to ensure we have a healthcare system that works for patients, families and doctors".
The 2010 healthcare overhaul, aimed at expanding insurance coverage to millions more Americans, triggered a long, bitter fight between the White House and congressional Republicans, who said it created unwarranted government intervention in personal healthcare and private industry.
Mr Trump has said he will replace Obamacare with a plan to give states more control over the Medicaid health plan for the poor and allow insurers to sell plans nationally.
Both Mr Price and Ms Verma will need Senate confirmation in their positions, and the Trump administration will need congressional approval to repeal and change the health law.