After weeks of rumors, President Donald Trump officially nominated Alex Azar to replace Tom Price as the new Department of Health and Human Services secretary. As is common practice with the Trump presidency, the announcement was officially made via Twitter. “Happy to announce, I am nominating Alex Azar to be the next HHS Secretary,” Trump tweeted late Monday morning. “He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!”
A former top executive and, eventually, president of U.S. operations at the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, Azar left the company earlier this year. According to the Washington Post, rumors about Azar’s potentially replacing ousted HHS Secretary Tom Price began to swirl in mid-October — just weeks after the previous occupant’s forced resignation. The move made sense to insiders, for aside from the White House’s penchant for appointing former business insiders to numerous cabinet positions, Azar actually had some experience. From 2005 to 2007, he served as HHS deputy secretary under President George W. Bush.
Even so, Politico reports Azar will likely face poignant questions about his extensive background in (and connections to) the pharmaceutical industry. What’s more, the administration’s continued assault on Obamacare — along with the Republican-controlled Congress’s numerous failed attempts to repeal it outright — will weigh heavily throughout Azar’s Senate confirmation process.