Ex-drug exec picked to run health agency

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A Senate confirmation hearing is all that separates Alex Azar, a proponent of Medicaid block grants, from becoming the nation’s top health official.
A Senate confirmation hearing is all that separates Alex Azar, a proponent of Medicaid block grants, from becoming the nation’s top health official.

President Donald Trump chose a former pharmaceutical company executive in mid-November to take over as the nation's top health official.

Alex Azar served as the president of drug maker Eli Lilly until January 2017. He also worked as general counsel and deputy secretary for the Department of Health and Human Service during President George W. Bush's administration.

Observers told Politico that Azar strikes them as a “near-diametrical opposite” of his predecessor Tom Price, M.D., who resigned in September.

LeadingAge said it looked forward to collaborating with Azar, while the American Health Care Association lauded him as an “experienced leader.”

If confirmed, Azar — a frequent critic of the Affordable Care Act — will be tasked with leading efforts to repeal the law, which lawmakers plan to revisit in 2018.