Blog Post

Response to Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary Appointment

Nov. 30, 2016

By Joanne Spetz, PhD, Associate Director of Research, Healthforce Center at UCSF

Tom Price, MD, has a deep knowledge of the health care system, from both his clinical background as an orthopedist and his work in Congress. He’s openly opposed the Affordable Care Act, and also has been critical of value-based purchasing in the Medicare program.

He said mandatory participation in bundled payment programs “overhaul major payment systems, commandeer clinical decision-making and dramatically alter the delivery of care.” 

Indeed, these programs are intended to dramatically alter the delivery of care – the US spends more than any other country in the world on health care, and patient outcomes are worse than nearly every other industrialized nation.

At the heart of Dr. Price’s critique is the issue of physician autonomy, but his critique ignores questions of value and quality.

Whether he develops new policies to move the US toward better outcomes and lower costs, or simply backtracks on the progress that has been made, remains to be seen.

About Joanne Spetz: Dr. Joanne Spetz, PhD is the associate director of research at Healthforce Center at UCSF. In addition, Dr. Spetz is a professor at the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, Department of Family and Community Medicine, and the School of Nursing at UCSF. Dr. Spetz’s research focuses on the economics of the health care workforce.