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US Health Secretary Tom Price resigns over use of expensive private planes

By Pti
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    Washington, September 30: Amid a scandal over his use of expensive private planes for official travel, US President Donald Trump's embattled Health Secretary Tom Price has resigned. President Donald Trump promptly accepted his resignation and designated Don J Wright to serve as Acting Secretary, effective at 11:59 pm (local time) on September 29, 2017, the White House said in a statement.

    Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. PTI file photo

    "I'm not happy, okay? I can tell you, I'm not happy," Trump told reporters before he boarded Marine One at White House for Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base on his way to New Jersey.

    Price, 62, resigned after a series of damaging reports about use of an expensive charter plane to do official business.

    On Thursday he cut a check of over USD 50,000 for the cost of his seat. However, media reports said the entire plane cost the government more than USD 1 million. Before becoming the Health Secretary, he was a Republican Congressman from Georgia.

    "I have spent forty 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," Price said in his resignation letter released by White House.

    Price was also unable to push Trump's agenda of repealing Obamacare. Indian-American Seema Verma, who has been playing a key role in repeal and replace of Obamacare and has won accolades from Trump multiple times is seen as a strong contender for the Cabinet position of Health and Human Services.

    Currently administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Verma hails from Indiana the home State of Vice President Mike Pence.

    If nominated by Trump, Verma would be the second Indian American - that too a woman - after Nikki Haley to be nominated to a presidential cabinet. Haley is the US Ambassador to the UN.

    Tom Price has joined the list of people who quit Trump presidency. In just eight months since Trump took office, he has fired or lost his chief of staff, chief strategist, national security adviser, press secretary, two communications directors, a deputy chief of staff, a deputy national security adviser, the FBI director and many other aides and advisers.

    PTI

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