Trump nominates former pharma exec Alex Azar as health secretary

President Donald Trump said Monday that he will nominate former pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar as secretary of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.

"ElevatingHome looks forward to working with Mr. Azar and sharing with him the many ways that home-based care is a vital patient-preferred, lower cost component of high-quality health care delivery models", the group said in an emailed statement.

If confirmed, Azar would replace Tom Price, who resigned in September during an investigation into his use of private jets.

"LeadingAge looks forward to ongoing collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services - including a new secretary - as we work, on behalf of our 6000+ members and partners, to ensure the overall health and wellbeing of older adults across the country", she said in an emailed statement to Home Health Care News. Trump and Congressional Republicans have called to repeal the health law, and the administration has taken steps to destabilize it, such as cutting funding for some programs and refusing to pay subsidies to health insurers.

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

"Would (Azar) have been better off if he had been meditating in an ashram after serving as deputy secretary?" asked Troy. In recent state elections in Virginia, Democrats won a competitive governors race that saw health care emerge as a top issue.

In October Trump also signed an executive order that would weaken Obamacare by making it easier for Americans to buy bare-bones health insurance plans.

Alex Azar has spent most of the past 10 years with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly.

Azar, who now works for a consulting firm, worked as the HHS general counsel from 2001 to 2005 in the George W. Bush administration.

President Donald Trump may occasionally erupt with passionate criticism for biopharma companies and the execs who run them, but once again he's going with an industry insider for a top government post. A lawyer by training, Azar previously clerked for Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

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