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Azar Nominated For HHS Secretary

By Jill Sheridan, IPB News | Published on in Government, Health, Statewide News
(wwsgconnect/Wikimedia Commons)
(wwsgconnect/Wikimedia Commons)

A former Eli Lilly executive has been nominated as Health and Human Services Secretary. As Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Jill Sheridan reports, Alex Azar is the latest Hoosier nominated by President Donald Trump for a post in the federal health sector.

Azar’s nomination for HHS Secretary follows the ascendance of Seema Verma, who currently leads the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and former State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, who became Surgeon General this summer.

U.S. Sen. Todd Young says the choice is an excellent one.

“His previous leadership experience at HHS and his work at Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly will be an effective combination as we work to solve our nation’s most significant healthcare challenges,” said Young in a statement.

Azar spent a decade at Lilly before he stepped down to run a pharmaceutical consulting firm earlier this year. He served as the HHS deputy secretary under President George W. Bush.

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly says he looks forward to meeting with Azar to ask how he would approach the role.

“I will carefully review Mr. Azar’s nomination for this critically important position,” said Donnelly in a statement.

Azar has been critical of the Affordable Care Act and has said he supports healthcare block grants to states – an idea pushed by the Trump administration and many Republican governors, including Indiana’s Gov. Eric Holcomb. Azar has also been outspoken about the need to lower drug prices.

If confirmed, Azar will oversee the National Institute of Health, the CDC, the FDA and other agencies. He would replace Tom Price, who stepped down in September after a controversy surrounding use of private jets.