Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned his post Friday afternoon amid controversy over racking up hundreds of thousands in travel bills.
Price’s department of the executive branch oversees the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and is the administrative body for the federal health insurance exchange.
The New York Times reports Price compiled at least $400,000 in travel bills and chartered flights on the taxpayer’s dime. The costs undermined President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to “drain the swamp” of corruption in Washington politics.
Price was appointed to see-through Trump’s desire to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, an effort that repeatedly failed in the Senate this summer. In July, Trump joked he would fire Price if he didn’t get the votes for a replacement health care bill.
The Times reports, Price said in his resignation letter to the president: “I have spent 40 years both as a doctor and public servant putting people first. I regret that the recent events have created a distraction from these important objectives. Success on these issues is more important than any one person. In order for you to move forward without further disruption, I am officially tendering my resignation.”
Potential replacements include Seema Verma, the administrator for CMS, and Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.