Trump announces new Health & Human Services Secretary nominee

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President Trump has announced a replacement for the role of Department of Health and Human Services secretary, a position that has been left vacant since Tom Price resigned in late September.

“Happy to announce, I am nominating Alex Azar to be the next HHS Secretary. He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!” President Trump said in a Twitter post on Monday morning.

Azar previously worked at the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly for almost 10 years and most recently served as the president of Lilly USA. He left that company in January and now runs a consulting firm.

Azar also worked in the HHS Department under the George W. Bush administration, where he was the HHS general counsel from 2001 to 2005, then served as the deputy secretary for two years, under Secretary Mike Leavitt.

“He understands the process and he knows the levers and how you make it work and where the potential roadblocks are,” Leavitt said. “I think he would be of particular value given the fact that … so far a repeal bill has not occurred and they’re going to need to make their imprint on existing laws through replacing the ideology underpinning it.”

The Democrats are expected to put up a fight during the confirmation process.

The Hill reported:

Notably, as HHS general counsel, Azar worked to help then HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson officially declare the first public health service emergency after two airplanes flew into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.

“He was able to research the law very quickly and said, ‘we have the authority to do so’ and gave me the authority,” Thompson said. “And we went away and declared a health emergency. It was badly needed and it was right on, and nobody’s ever questioned” our legal ability to do it.

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