WASHINGTON — President Trump said yesterday he will nominate Alex Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive and health care official during the Bush administration, to be his new secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
If confirmed by the Senate, Azar would replace Tom Price, who resigned under pressure on Sept. 29 after a series of stories in Politico documented his repeated use of private jets and government aircraft instead of commercial planes, at a cost of more than $400,000.
Price, a Republican who represented a Georgia district in Congress before he was named to the Cabinet, also presided over the failure of the president’s effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Azar served as deputy HHS secretary during President George W. Bush’s second term. He later worked at Eli Lilly as director of managed care and, from 2012 to early this year, as president.
“Happy to announce, I am nominating Alex Azar to be the next HHS Secretary,” Trump tweeted from Manila, on his five-nation Asia tour. “He will be a star for better health care and lower drug prices!”
The top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee that will vet the nominee, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, said he will ask for Azar’s “commitment to faithfully implement the Affordable Care Act and take decisive, meaningful action to curtail the runaway train of prescription drug costs.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the Republican who heads the Senate’s health committee, said Azar has “the qualifications and experience to get results” and said the committee would “promptly” set a date for hearings.