Trump nominates former pharma exec Alex Azar as health secretary

Trump nominates former pharma exec Alex Azar as health secretary

The nation's 45th president just tweeted that he has nominated Alex Azar as the next secretary of Health and Human Services.

Azar worked as HHS deputy secretary from 2005 to 2007 under President George W. Bush.

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.

Azar needs 51 votes for confirmation.

The HHS is responsible for advising the President on matters of health, welfare, and income security programmes.

"There will be a piece of legislation passes this year that is called 'the repeal of Obamacare, ' " Azar said.

If confirmed, Azar will oversee large parts of the federal government's healthcare, including the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), which has begun regulating cigars.

The Trump administration followed through on a threat to cut off billions of dollars of subsidy payments to insurers, shortened the Obamacare open enrollment period, slashed advertising for the program by 90 percent and cut funding to groups that help people sign up for health insurance. "We hope that day one, Alex Azar begins to restore life-affirming care to our healthcare system, rather than abusing people's consciences and wallets in service of Planned Parenthood and its allies". In recent state elections in Virginia, Democrats won a competitive governors race that saw health care emerge as a top issue.

Tom Price resigned as HHS secretary in September after about seven months in the post, after facing sharp criticism for his use of taxpayer-funded private travel.

According to private contacts has had with leading pro-life advocates, Azar is reportedly someone the pro-life movement would appreciate. Ron Wyden (OR), for instance, spoke for many of his colleagues when he wondered how Azar could faithfully work to bring down prescription drug prices given his former employment. However he's taken no concrete action yet to do so.

President Donald Trump has nominated former pharma executive Alex Azar as secretary of Department of Health and Human Services.

Azar left Lilly in January, several months after another senior executive was named to succeed then-CEO John Lechleiter.