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Ex-Eli Lilly executive Azar wins Trump's nomination for top HHS post
15 November 2017, 09:54 | Melissa Porter
Trump Chooses Alex Azar for Health and Human Services Secretary
Just days after news that Trump was set to select ex-Eli Lilly executive Alex Azar for the US government's top healthcare post, he tweeted the nomination Monday morning.
Interestingly, a day after the previous HHS Secretary, Tom Price, resigned, Alex Azar exercised an insider option to purchase shares in HMS Holdings, bringing his publicly known total of shares in the company to over 17,000 with a current market value over $255,000 in a company with a market cap of over $1.3 billion. Price racked up roughly $1 million in private and government air travel in just seven months, according to Politico.
Azar was president of Lilly USA, the largest affiliate of Eli Lilly & Co., until January. "I don't think anybody can question his credentials from an experience perspective".
If confirmed, Azar also would take the lead in implementing Trump's campaign promise to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 healthcare overhaul passed under former Democratic President Barack Obama. Azar has also been outspoken about the need to lower drug prices.
Other Democrats were more cautious in their response to Trump's announcement, with Senator Chuck Schumer calling for the health agency to turn over a new leaf with Azar.
"During Mr. Azar's tenure at Eli Lilly, this multi-billion-dollar corporation dodged taxes while charging Americans outrageously high prices for life-saving prescription drugs".
Azar has also said he is against expanding Medicaid reimbursements, which provide insurance to almost 130 million Americans under the Affordable Care Act, saying that he would prefer to use government money through "private-sector vehicles" in order to provide health care.
Azar's nomination must be approved by the U.S. Senate, which is controlled by Trump's fellow Republicans. He served as the HHS deputy secretary under President George W. Bush.
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