Amid a growing controversy over the use of private, chartered flights for government business (and a resulting bill on the taxpayers), former Congressman Tom Price has resigned as the Secretary of Health and Human Services for the Trump Administration. What is interesting, however, is that talk of potential replacements has already begun… with Bobby Jindal’s name tossed in the mix.
Speculation about who would succeed Price permanently has focused largely on Seema Verma, who oversees Medicare, Medicaid and parts of the ACA. She’s a close ally of Vice President Pence. Former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb are also seen as potential candidates.
While Jindal’s stint as governor has mixed feelings from Louisiana conservatives, his work for HHS in the past is something many on the national side have admired. Jindal was one of the first (and only) 2016 GOP candidates who have a full health care plan available for the public to read.
Now, it is very early for this conversation to be happening, but it’s also very early to be losing Cabinet members, so there isn’t much precedent behind any of it. However, I can think of worse replacements than Bobby Jindal and few who are better.
There will, of course, be a lot of talk about Price’s job as HHS – the lack of Obamacare repeal will haunt that office – but a lot of that blame should probably be shouldered on Congress (specifically, Mitch McConnell’s Senate). However, Price was not terribly visible during these debates, and the next person to hold that office should be.
Whether it is Jindal or Gottlieb or Verma, whoever has that job is going to have to be more assertive than Price was. That, ultimately, is what led to his downfall… Well, that and airplanes. That wasn’t all that great, either.