What's Next for Obamacare After Tom Price's Confirmation?

President Donald Trump’s newly minted Secretary of Health and Human Services, Rep. Tom Price, R-Georgia, will have his work cut out for him as he now focuses on shepherding Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

While Trump acted quickly after his inauguration to sign anexecutive order broadly directing the government to begin scaling back the healthcare law also known as Obamacare, Price, who was confirmed by the Senate early Friday morning, will play the outsized role in Republican plans to unwind the law and craft their own alternative.

Price could either cripple President Obama’s signature healthcare law or keep it on life support long enough for Republicans to coalesce around a replacement plan, according to health care policy experts who outlined a number of possible paths forward.

Price could "pretty much blow up the law" by altering enforcement of the individual mandate, according to Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. "That authority is a hole they can drive a truck through in terms of weakening the individual mandate."

The individual mandate is one of the centerpieces of the ACA, requiring all individuals to purchase healthcare or else pay a fine. It has been a consistent lightning rod for conservatives who view it as undue federal encroachment on individual choice.

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