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Obamacare Opponent Sworn In as US Health Secretary

Vice President Mike Pence administers the oath of office to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, accompanied by his wife Betty, Feb. 10, 2017, in the in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s selection for health secretary was officially sworn in Friday at the White House by Vice President Mike Pence.

The oath of office was administered hours after the U.S. Senate voted 52 - 47 to approve Republican Representative Tom Price as the new chief of the massive Health and Human Services Department in a late session that ended Friday morning.

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Tom Price Sworn in as Health and Human Services Secretary
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Price, a veteran House member from the state of Georgia and an orthopedic surgeon, is an opponent of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, said Price "knows more about health care policy than just about anyone." McConnell said Price would help "bring stability to health care markets that Obamacare has harmed."

As the new HHS chief, Price, who is 62 years old, will lead the campaign to dismantle the health care law that allowed 20 million Americans to gain access to health insurance.

"The American people deserve a secretary of health and human services who will help more Americans receive quality, affordable health insurance coverage, not one who supports stripping it away by repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement," said Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts.

Republicans say they want to replace Obamacare, but have not agreed on a replacement.

Tough confirmation questions

Price - the latest nominee by President Donald Trump to be confirmed to his Cabinet - faced some tough questions about whether as head of the House Budget Committee, he used his position to benefit his stock trades. Some observers said, however, overwhelming evidence exonerated Price of unethical behavior.

In addition to Price, the Senate has confirmed Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, James Mattis as defense secretary, Jeff Sessions as attorney general, John Kelly as homeland security secretary, Elaine Chao as transportation secretary; and Betsy DeVos as education secretary.

The next vote will be on Steven Mnuchin in his bid to become treasury secretary.