Trump to nominate 'star' to lead HHS

Deputy Secretary Alex M. Azar and Ireland's former Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney

Deputy Secretary Alex M. Azar and Ireland's former Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney

Azar was also a deputy secretary of HHS under President George W. Bush. Price left HHS in September amid an investigation into his use of charter flights instead of cheaper commercial flights. Kahn called Azar "the flawless pick for the times". He now holds a Director position on the the Board for HMS Holdings Corp., a publicly traded company that offers services meant to coordinate healthcare claims payments. More recently, Azar served in many roles with Eli Lilly and Company, an worldwide pharmaceutical company, where as President of Lilly USA, he oversaw the substantial rise in drug prices while simultaneously serving on the board for the world's largest pharmaceutical lobby, Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

Currently, Azar is the chairman and founder of Seraphim Strategies, which provides strategic consulting and counsel on biopharmaceutical and health insurance industries.

Meanwhile, representatives from the pharmaceutical, insurance and healthcare industries, particularly those that have directly worked with him n his government and private sector roles, issued statements in support of Azar.

Happy to announce, I am nominating Alex Azar to be the next HHS Secretary.

If confirmed, Azar also would take the lead in implementing Trump's campaign promise to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 healthcare overhaul passed under former Democratic President Barack Obama.

Azar, though a spokesman, declined to comment. In May, he told Fox News that, in his opinion, Obamacare was "circling the drain" and should be stopped. "Obamacare plans are following the laws of economics".

But Sanders was skeptical that Azar is the right choice for the top HHS post, especially as the United States aims to lower skyrocketing prescription drug prices. The potential loss of Medicaid expansion dollars has been a sticking point for some Republican lawmakers from Medicaid expansion states who have welcomed the increase in federal dollars.

"I'm very proud of him", Dr. Azar said, according to Delmarva Now.

Republicans were supportive with Senate health committee head Lamar Alexander of Tennessee describing Azar as a qualified, experienced nominee. "As a former Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services and private sector executive, Alex Azar has the qualifications and experience to get results". "The Senate health committee will promptly schedule a hearing on his nomination".

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement that Azar's confirmation process "will be a referendum on the Trump administration's repeated efforts to sabotage our health care system and raise premiums on millions of Americans". "I look forward to reviewing Mr. Azar's nomination".

Trump's nomination of Azaro has been met with some scrutiny.

Azar's nomination must be approved by the US Senate, which is controlled by Trump's fellow Republicans.

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