Employee Benefits Compliance

ObamaCare to TrumpCare: Trump’s Nominees

white house

(This is the 2nd article in the ObamaCare to TrumpCare series. View the 1st article.)

The transition from ObamaCare to TrumpCare will be affected by the Secretaries of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) and Treasury/IRS, as well as by the legislation Congress enacts and President Trump signs.  Listed below are President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees to head these Federal agencies, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).  Following those four is a list of other Trump nominees for Cabinet and high-level positions (in alphabetical order by position or Federal Agency, not by nominee).

Cabinet nominees must be approved by the Senate, by a simple majority vote (51).  The Republicans have 52 (of 100) seats in the Senate.  In the event of a tie, the Vice-President (Mike Pence) will cast the tie-breaking vote.  Senate hearings on the nominees began January 10, 2017.

 Position Nominee Comments

Dept. of Labor


Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE restaurants (which owns Carl’s Jr. and Hardees fast food chains). Has publicly opposed minimum wage increases and the DOL’s proposed FLSA overtime regulations, which a Texas District Court stopped from going into effect on Dec. 1, 2016.

Health & Human Services

Rep. Tom Price, MD, R-Ga. (since 2005), chairman of the House Budget Committee (since 2015) Opposes ObamaCare, and proposed legislation in 2015 to repeal and replace it.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Seema Verma, president, CEO and founder of health policy consultancy SVC. Advised Indiana on design of its alternative Medicaid expansion program (under ACA), which was approved by HHS.
IRS/Treasury Steve Mnuchin, billionaire, with private investment firm Dune Capital Management. Former executive with Goldman Sachs for 17 years, also was a movie producer.
Department or Position Person Comments
Agriculture Sonny Perdue, former Gov. of Georgia,
agri-businessman & veterinarian
Praised by some, criticized by others as proponent of Big Ag & not of middle-class farmers


Wilbur Ross, Chair of International Coal Corp. & billionaire investor Ross is known for restructuring failed companies in industries such as steel, coal, telecommunications, foreign investment and textiles.



Gen.  James (“Mad Dog”) Mattis, retired Marine Corps General Mattis has been out of uniform for less than seven years, so he needs a waiver from Congress to lead the Pentagon.
Education Betsy DeVos, philanthropist and strong advocate of charter schools and vouchers for private schools.  Some question DeVos’s commitment to traditional public education Trump has said federal Education Dept. will have a reduced role, with more responsibility going to state & local governments.
Energy Rick Perry, former Gov. of Texas (R), also one of the Republican contenders for President in 2012 and 2016.  In 2011 said he would eliminate the Energy Dept. if he were elected President. Perry resigned Dec. 31 from Energy Transfer Partners LP and Sunoco Logistics Partners LP.  Both companies are developing the proposed oil pipeline that has caused protests in North Dakota.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma attorney general. A close ally of the fossil fuel industry and has taken on the E.P.A. directly in his current job. Trump initially said he would eliminate EPA, but now says he will refocus on its core mission
Homeland Security John Kelly, retired four-star Marine general If Trump follows through on his campaign promises of deporting illegal immigrants and building a wall, Kelly would be responsible for implementation of these.
HUD, Housing & Urban Development Ben Carson, MD, a neurosurgeon, and one of the Republican contenders for President in 2016.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, representative from Montana and former Navy SEAL commander


Elaine Chao, former Secretary of Labor for George W. Bush and deputy transportation secretary under the elder George Bush. Chao’s husband is Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell.  Trump has said a major infrastructure overhaul is one of his priorities.
Veterans’ Affairs David Shulkin, MD (internist), currently under-secretary for health at the VA, appointed by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the Senate in June 2015. Previously president of Morristown Medical Center and Gorybe Children’s Hospital. Shulkin would be the first non-veteran to serve as VA secretary.
Attorney General Sen. Jeff Sessions  (R-AL) Supports strict immigration enforcement and tough measures on crime.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Chairman & CEO of Exxon Mobile