Senate Confirms Alex Azar As HHS Secretary Despite Democrats' Opposition

Alex Azar HHS

Azar, 50, is a veteran of HHS, having served for two years as deputy secretary and before that as general counsel of the department, both during the administration of President George W. Bush.

"I congratulate Secretary Azar on his appointment and look forward to working with him as we continue our efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare and lower the cost of healthcare for hard-working Americans".

Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons of DE, were among six Democrats supporting Azar.

As HHS secretary, Azar will oversee Medicaid, Medicare, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency that regulates prescription drugs. Azar's commitment to HHS" mission "to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, ' including unborn children and their mothers, is so encouraging. Paul said he wouldn't support Azar "unless he shows he's open to the idea of allowing drugs to be imported from other countries where they often cost much less", as reported by USA Today. "We should reward doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies for making people well, not for the number of procedures done, hospitalizations required or drugs prescribed".

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Coons cited Azar's "wealth of experience" and said Azar's intellect and work ethic have impressed him during the several decades they've known each other. Patty Murray asked Azar if he supports a recent rule from the Trump Administration that allows employers with a conscience objection to deny insurance coverage for contraception for women (the law is now blocked by a federal court).

"If we set aside the partisan and the pre-conceived notions some have about certain industries, Mr. Azar would likely get a near-unanimous vote", Sen.

Price, a former congressman, resigned in September after eight months on the job due to controversy over use of private planes for government travel using taxpayer money.

The one Republican to oppose Azar's nomination, Sen. Democrats largely describe Azar's work history as a liability that could exacerbate the problems caused by rising drug prices. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said on the Senate floor Tuesday, according to Reuters. Azar has also targeted the "gaming of exclusivity and patents by branded drug companies". Six Democrats and one Independent voted in favor of Azar's nomination, including Sens. The report added that federal officials have said they can't guarantee the safety of imported drugs.

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