Trump’s HHS pick appears to be on track for confirmation | POLITICO

Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive and HHS official in George W. Bush’s administration, is expected to lead efforts to unwind the Affordable Care Act through regulation, pursue conservative change to entitlement programs long sought by Republicans and follow through on Trump’s unfulfilled pledge to tackle soaring drug prices. With many Republican lawmakers wary of waging another divisive health care fight during an election year, Azar will be charged with steering Trump’s health care legacy.

Skeptical Democrats point to a track record that includes a decade spent leading Eli Lilly’s U.S. operations, where Azar boosted prices for drugs. That was just standard industry practice, Azar testified Tuesday, as he pledged to leverage his industry insight to repair a convoluted system that he said perversely incentivizes higher and higher drug prices. Yet he’s largely rejected major government reforms on drug pricing, instead supporting policies typically backed by the industry.

Still, he’s also won the respect of more centrist Democrats and health policy officials across the spectrum, who praised Azar as a level-headed and practical manager, capable of leading a department left in disarray by Tom Price’s resignation as HHS secretary in September.

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Trump’s HHS pick appears to be on track for confirmation – POLITICO.

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