President Donald Trump intends to nominate a health care economist at the University of Minnesota to a leadership position within the massive U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Stephen Parente would serve in the Trump administration as an assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at HHS, which operates the Medicare health insurance program and has implemented key provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Parente's name was included in a Friday announcement by the White House of intended nominees to six key administration jobs.
A federal website said the assistant secretary for planning and evaluation "is the principal adviser to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on policy development, and is responsible for major activities in policy coordination, legislation development, strategic planning, policy research, evaluation and economic analysis."
In recent years, the office has published periodic scorecards that track enrollment in new health care exchanges that were launched by the ACA as an option for individuals to buy coverage.
In 2013-14, Parente worked with a conservative think tank to evaluate the budget and coverage impact from a plan to repeal and replace the ACA from former U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., who is now Trump's HHS secretary. More recently, Parente worked with staffers to model the economic impact of "Better Way," the ACA replacement plan put forward by House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Parente is the director of the Medical Industry Leadership Institute at the U's Carlson School of Management, where he's also the Minnesota Insurance Industry Chair of Health Finance.
Parente has held leadership positions with the Health Care Cost Institute, a nonprofit research project backed by big health insurers, including Minnetonka-based UnitedHealthcare, to analyze insurance data from multiple carriers. He also serves as a health adviser to the Congressional Budget Office, which earlier this year published an influential analysis on the cost and coverage impact of a Republican plan to replace the ACA.
Parente was a health policy adviser for the 2008 presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. He earned a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University.