February 18, 2018

Alex Azar set to be confirmed as HHS Secretary

26 January 2018, 02:36 | Kara Nash

MoreCloseclosemoreAlex Azar will take over the Department of Health and Human Services at a time when rising drug prices are a huge political issue

Alex Azar will take over the Department of Health and Human Services at a time when rising drug prices are a huge political issue

The Senate has confirmed a former pharmaceutical industry executive as head of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.

The final vote in the Senate was 55-43.

In 2017, the Yale Law grad ended a five-year stint as president of the US division of pharmaceuticals giant Eli Lilly and Co.

Price, a former congressman, resigned in September after eight months on the job due to controversy over use of private planes for government travel using taxpayer money.

Azar, 50, is a veteran of HHS, having served for two years as deputy secretary and before that as general counsel of the department, both during the administration of President George W. Bush.

Azar attended Parkside High School in Wicomico County and his family also runs the Azar Eye Institute in Salisbury.

"On Mr. Azar's watch", Mr. Wyden said, "the price of Forteo, a Lilly drug used to treat osteoporosis, more than doubled", as did the prices for Humalog, used to treat diabetes, and Strattera, for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Senate votes to end USA govt shutdown
It does not include a permanent fix for the Obama-era DACA program, which Senate Democrats had originally demanded. I don't trust the Republicans and I don't trust (Senate Majority Leader Mitch) McConnell with just a promise.

Azar will have large authority to regulate and alter the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through administrative actions as HHS secretary.

"MDMA congratulates Mr. Azar on his confirmation as the next Secretary of HHS and we are committed to working with him to expedite patient and provider access to the cures and therapies developed by medical technology innovators".

"In Wisconsin and across the country, health care premiums are going up because of the uncertainty and chaos created by the Trump Administration's repeated sabotage of our health care system over the past year".

Azar has unique qualifications because he has already worked at HHS. Azar responded that the number of employers believed to take advantage of the rule is overall small, but said "I do believe we have to balance of course a woman's choice of insurance that she would want with the conscience of employers and others".

The one Republican to oppose Azar's nomination, Sen. Rand Paul - voted against Azar because of his lack of support for allowing prescription drugs to be imported from other countries where they often sell for much cheaper.

In the Senate vote on Tuesday, seven Democrats joined Republicans as they voted to move Azar's nomination forward.

But Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) called Azar "one of the best public servants that I've seen in the whole time that I've been here".

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