Alex Azar has been sworn in as President Trump’s second health secretary. His nomination was approved by the Senate last week, largely along party lines. It was a 53-47 vote.
Azar is a former drug company executive and official in George W. Bush’s administration. Azar spent a decade as a senior executive of Indianapolis-based drug maker Eli Lilly and Co. Prior to working with the government; he clerked for a federal judge and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. In the early 1990’s he was an associate at Kenneth Star’s firm. He helped the Texas attorney in the Whitewater investigation involving President Bill Clinton and Hilary Clinton.
Azar has said his priorities include curbing the cost of prescription drugs, making health insurance more affordable and available, and confronting the opioid addiction epidemic. Trump says, "He's going to get those prescription drug prices way down."
Speaking in February 2017, Azar said there were methods other than the ACA in which the government can play a role in expanding insurance coverage to individuals. He previously said the expansion of Medicaid has been unsuccessful and preferred that government funding through "private sector vehicles" would be more efficient. He has already chosen Peter Urbanowicz, a former hospital executive who worked at HHS during Azar's tenure there, to be his chief of staff.
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