President Donald Trump has nominated Alex Azar to fill the vacancy left after Tom Price, MD, resigned his post as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Serving as president of Lilly USA, LLC - part of the global biopharmaceutical gian Eli Lilly and Company - until January of this year, Azar is a former deputy secretary of HHS and HHS general counsel. He served during President George W. Bush's administration, rising to the number two person to Secretary Mike Leavitt.
A graduate of Yale Law School, Azar is well versed in the regulatory landscape of healthcare in the United States. He has been a vocal critic of the Affordable Care Act and a proponent of restructuring Medicaid as block grants to states.
In response to the nomination, U.S. Senator and HELP Chair Lamar Alexander issued the following statement, "As a former deputy secretary of Health and Human Services and private sector executive, Alex Azar has the qualifications and experience to get results. The Senate health committee will promptly schedule a hearing on his nomination."
Other reaction includes:
Rick Pollack, President and CEO of the American Hospital Association
"We welcome the nomination of Alex Azar to be Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). We are confident that his extensive background in business, healthcare and medicine distinguishes him as a uniquely qualified candidate for the vacancy. The expertise garnered from his career in the private sector and prior public service at HHS as Deputy Secretary will prove to be particularly valuable in addressing the serious challenges facing our nation's healthcare system today."
Susan Peschin, MHS, President & CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research
"On behalf of the Alliance for Aging Research, I am pleased to offer our strong support to Alex Azar and his nomination by President Trump to be HHS secretary. Our nation's older adults benefit from many of the life-saving medical research, health services, and public health programs administered by HHS agencies, and strong leadership at the top level will set the tone for these agencies to fulfill their missions. The Alliance is confident that Alex Azar's qualifications will translate into effective direction of HHS for programs that are critical to the health and well-being of our aging population."