Trump announces pick for new Health and Human Services secretary on Twitter

Trump Chooses Alex Azar for Health and Human Services Secretary

The nomination of Alex Azar, the former head of Eli Lilly's US operations, shows that Trump was never serious about his promise to stop the pharmaceutical industry from 'getting away with murder'.

Photo Alex Azar, then deputy Health and Human Services secretary, in June 2006.

Azar's Senate confirmation could be hard, with the chamber's 48 Democrats unlikely to approve a candidate who supports dismantling the Affordable Care Act.

If confirmed, Azar would be Trump's second HHS secretary, replacing former Georgia congressman Tom Price, who stepped down after just seven months, when his use of private charter planes for government travel created a public controversy that displeased the president. "He promised the American people he would bring skyrocketing drug prices 'way, way, way, down.' But when given the chance to put his money where his mouth is, he brazenly nominated a former pharmaceutical executive to lead the agency charged with managing prescription drug costs". Azar has also been outspoken about the need to lower drug prices.

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"He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!" the president tweeted.

Azar has also said he is against expanding Medicaid reimbursements, which provide insurance to almost 130 million Americans under the Affordable Care Act, saying that he would prefer to use government money through "private-sector vehicles" in order to provide health care.

Azar, who also served as the General Counsel for HHS prior to becoming Deputy Secretary, would likely continue the Trump administration's efforts to reform or repeal the Patient Protection/Affordable Care Act, which he has called a "fundamentally broken system". Mr. Azar, when he was president of Lilly USA, was an HLC member and served on the organization's executive committee. "Instead of draining the swamp, he has set the fox to guard the henhouse". "It's time to turn over a new leaf at HHS", he said in a statement.

Azar represents an unusual choice for this position as it has been common practice for presidents to make a nomination from elected officials rather than industry.

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