Senate Finance Committee advances Alex Azar's nomination to head HHS

Alex Azar testifies during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. A Senate committee has signed off on Azar President Donald Trump's pick for health secretary clearing the way for final

Alex Azar, nominated to be the next secretary of health and human services, testified during a January 9 hearing before the Senate Finance Committee.

The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday backed President Trump's pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services, clearing the way for Alex Azar to be confirmed by the full Senate. The 12 no votes all came from Democratic senators. Tom Carper (Del.), voting for him.

Azar responded: "I don't know that there is any drug price of a branded product that has ever gone down from any company on any drug in the United States because every incentive in this system is toward higher prices", Azar said.

Many Democrats have said they fear Azar would take actions harmful to ObamaCare in office and do little to rein in the cost of prescription drugs, among other concerns.

Trump's first health secretary, former U.S. Representative Tom Price, resigned in September amid a furor over his use of expensive taxpayer-funded private charter jets for government travel.

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"Mr. Azar is well-credentialed to lead such a critical department at a time America's health care system is facing hard challenges", Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said in a written statement.

The committee's top Democrat, Sen.

During that hearing, Paul asked Azar about his opposition to allowing consumers to purchase imported and safe drugs from Europe and Canada, a position that President Donald Trump supports. He said that Azar didn't offer "a single example" of the company lowering prices during Azar's tenure, which included five years as president of its largest affiliate, Lilly USA.

Many Republican lawmakers have praised Azar's experience at drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co. and his work as a senior official at the health agency under President George W. Bush, when he helped implement the Medicare Part D drug program and the Medicare Advantage program.

"His record shows that he is more than capable of leading HHS", Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said at Azar's confirmation hearing.


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