Former Rep. John Fleming to join HHS under Trump

WASHINGTON – Former U.S. Rep. John Fleming of Minden is joining the Trump Administration.

Unlike other recent runners-up around the state, Fleming has spurned lobbying in favor of a post in the Department of Health and Human Services, the New Orleans’ The Times-Picayune first reported Monday morning.

Fleming said Monday he accepted the position as deputy assistant secretary for health technology within the Department of Health and Human Services. Fleming told the Times-Picayune he would work towards finding ways to improve how physicians use technology.

“It’s clear there’s a lot of work to do,” Fleming said. “and they’re anxious to get somebody in place and start activating this.”

Fleming, 65, reached out to former Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., soon after Trump tabbed him as secretary of health and human services. Both Price and Fleming are physicians and have worked together in Congress.

As deputy assistant secretary, Fleming doesn’t require Senate confirmation, but he will report directly to Price, at least for now.

Fleming described how he would like to remove barricades to using newer digital filing systems, a move he believes will lead to increased productivity in doctors’ offices while spurring competition in the Tech industry. He also wants to work on financial incentives for physicians who use technology and to decrease the amount of paperwork health providers must trudge through.

“I just want to be a part of taking down the barriers that are preventing innovation,” Fleming said.

Fleming, an opponent to Affordable Care Act, will be able to influence how regulations are applied under the final version of any replacement health care law when the Republican Congress replaces Obamacare.

The 65-year-old Republican from Minden missed the runoff last fall in the Senate race to succeed Sen. David Vitter. John Kennedy, the Republican state treasurer at the time, ultimately won the seat.

Fleming told the Times-Picayune he plans to keep his home in Minden, however he will have to sell his private practice. His wife, Cindy, is expected to travel with him to Washington.

While the move seems to signify a shift away from politics, Fleming made a point not to rule out another run for elected office, saying he would keep his residency in Minden.



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