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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Alex Azar Nominated to Lead HHS

November 16, 2017 | Medicaid | Medicare | Comments
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President Trump, on Monday, nominated former pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar to be his next Secretary of Health and Human Services. Azar, who spent most of the last decade at Eli Lilly and Co., previously served for six years in the George W Bush administration – first as General Counsel for four years and then as Deputy Secretary for two years under President George W. Bush. The Senate will consider his nomination later this month.

“He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!”, President Trump tweeted of Mr. Azar.

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

As Azar has not served in the public sector for much of the last decade, there is limited information on his stances on current political topics. Regarding the Affordable Care Act, Azar has been quoted as saying, “There’s actually fairly few levers that the government can do at this point to try to stabilize this fundamentally broken system.”

When discussing the House-passed health care bill – the American Health Care Act – Azar was supportive, saying, “This repeal legislation is quite bold. The changes to Medicaid are historic. The tax repeals are mammoth. It is not Obamacare lite.”

MEDICAID

As the head of HHS, Mr. Azar would oversee the Medicaid program. In the past, he has spoken favorably about capping federal investment in Medicaid and was supportive of such efforts from earlier in 2017.

“Block-granting really says, state Medicaid program, state, here’s an amount of money. You figure out the best way to provide insurance to those who are unable to afford it in your state,” Azar said in a February. “It becomes their money again to make the choices, make the trade-offs, and turn these sovereign states and these governors from supplicants to the HHS secretary into people running their own health insurance system for the poor.”

The National Council will continue to closely monitor the nomination of Mr. Azar and will keep its readers updated on developments in Capitol Connector. The Senate has scheduled a confirmation hearing on Azar’s nomination for November 29.