FLICKR, MARK TAYLORJust eight days after Politico broke the story of his frequent use of private charter planes on the taxpayers’ dime, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, resigned on Friday (September 29). The pattern of using private charter rather than commercial flights, which Politico called a “sharp departure from his two immediate predecessors,” had drawn criticism from Democratic lawmakers, and a letter from the House Oversight Committee to Price stated it was “examining the extent to which non-career officials at federal departments and agencies either use government-owned aircraft for personal travel or private non-commercial aircraft for official travel,” CNN reports.
Even before the story of the private plane travel emerged, Trump had voiced unhappiness with Price. CBS reports that he said in a speech to the National Scout Jamboree in July that if Price wasn’t able to get Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, “I'll say Tom, you're fired.” Several Senate proposals to repeal and replace Obamacare failed.
The Associated Press reports that Don Wright, a deputy assistant secretary of health, has been named the interim secretary until a replacement is nominated and confirmed. The wire service names Seema Verma, the current head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb as possible candidates for the position.