Price hearing for HHS chief to take center stage

Providers will be among the most interested onlookers Wednesday as the Senate confirmation hearing for Tom Price, the nominee to become Secretary of Health and Human Services, begins. An orthopedic surgeon by training, Price's nomination has been welcomed by long-term care leaders and other medical professionals.

Democrats on the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee are expecting to subject Price to rigorous questioning, particularly about past business dealings. As a pre-emptive move, Price wrote HHS ethics officials that, if confirmed, he would sell off stocks he owns in about 40 companies, which include pharmaceutical giants and other businesses of various sizes. He also pledged to resign as managing partner of a Georgia surgery group.

Longtime political observers have said that while Price's confirmation hearing could be drawn out to two or more days, he is expected to be confirmed since Republicans hold the majority on the committee and in the Senate overall. Price is currently a Republican Congressman representing Georgia. 

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