Tags: Trump Administration | hhs | alex azar | obamacare | trump

HHS Tries to Right Ship as Alex Azar Prepares to Take Helm

Image: HHS Tries to Right Ship as Alex Azar Prepares to Take Helm
Alex Azar (AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 16 January 2018 09:47 AM

The Department of Health and Human Services was not spared the turmoil of the Trump administration's first year in office, as the president's first pick for secretary of the department, Tom Price, was forced to resign, ABC News noted in a review marking the first anniversary of the president's inauguration.

Price quit his Cabinet post in September after a Politico report embarrassed the department and the administration by revealing Price spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at taxpayers' expense to fly around in private jets.

That controversy overshadowed other developments during the year at the HHS.

Although President Donald Trump failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, as he promised to do, HHS did manage to make significant changes by rolling back the Obamacare birth control mandate, permitting employers to exempt themselves if they have a religious objection, and ending cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies to help provide lower cost insurance for middle and low-income consumers, according to ABC News.

HHS also slashed advertising spending for Obamacare by 90 percent, cut the sign-up period on the federal healthcare exchanges in half, and got rid of the individual mandate — a tax penalty for those who did not sign up for health insurance.

As Trump's second year at the White House starts, controversy at HHS continues with the expected swearing in soon of the president's new nominee for secretary, Alex Azar.

Critics say that Azar, who was president of operations at the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co., is too connected to the drug industry to allow for any meaningful reforms reducing the high cost of medicine.

Hilary McQuie, a director at the Health Global Access Project (GAP), an international advocacy organization working for universal access to life-saving medicines for people living with HIV, wrote in The Hill that "evidence abounds that as leader of HHS, Azar would work against making affordable medicines accessible to all."

McQuie added that Azar has also "demonstrated an enthusiasm for exporting the same international property laws that have driven up drug costs in the U.S., through trade agreements that make affordable and safe medicine less accessible in other countries."

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The Department of Health and Human Services was not spared the turmoil of the Trump administration's first year in office, as the president's first pick for secretary of the department, Tom Price, was forced to resign...
hhs, alex azar, obamacare, trump
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2018-47-16
Tuesday, 16 January 2018 09:47 AM
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