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HHS Secretary Nominee Alex Azar Testifies Before Senate

HHS Secretary Nominee Alex Azar Testifies Before Senate
(Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 29 November 2017 11:54 AM

Alex Azar appeared on Wednesday before the Senate HELP Committee for his first confirmation hearing to become Health and Human Services secretary, Politico reported.

Although Democrats oppose President Donald Trump's pick, the criticism from most in the party is much more subdued than their outcry over other of the president's nominees.

That is because Democrats see Azar as a pragmatic conservative with experience at HHS and the possibility that he would be willing to seek bipartisan cooperation on some issues.

Although Azar is a fierce critic of Obamacare, he is not known as a zealot seeking to tear it all down. Democrats also acknowledge that even though he would be a loyal supporter of the Trump administration's priorities, Azar is not seen as someone who will bring a radical personal agenda into the agency, as did previous secretary Tom Price in his brief tenure before his forced resignation.

However, many Democrats do have serious concerns about Azar, especially criticism for his tenure at Eli Lilly, where the price of insulin increased by about 300 percent while he was there, Business Insider reported.

They will be sure to zero in on this point during his confirmation, as he would be responsible for finding ways to decrease prescription drug costs if he becomes secretary.

Despite these concerns, Senate Democrats have refrained from harsh criticism in the hope that his tenure could mark a fresh start for some sort of bipartisan cooperation

"He's been inside the administration before [six years at HHS under President George W. Bush], so he certainly has experience in working with Congress," Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy told Politico

"The jury is out on his ideology," said Brad Woodhouse, campaign director for Protect Our Care. Although his group is opposing Azar's nomination due to his drug industry ties and the broader Trump agenda, Woodhouse acknowledges that unlike Price, Azar does not come across as an ideologically driven candidate.

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Alex Azar appeared on Wednesday before the Senate HELP Committee for his first confirmation hearing to become Health and Human Services secretary, Politico reported.
health and human services secretary, alex azar, testifies, senate, confirmation hearing
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Wednesday, 29 November 2017 11:54 AM
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