ADEA Washington Update

Nominee to Head HHS Expected to Take Over Soon

(HHS, Medicare and Medicaid Services) Permanent link   All Posts

AzarAlex Azar, J.D., has been nominated to replace Tom Price, M.D., as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Mr. Azar testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee that he would tackle the rising cost of prescription medications even though he had been a top executive at a major pharmaceutical company.

Azar said he supports President Trump’s goal to convert the Medicaid program into a block grant that would allot states a fixed sum and allow more freedom from federal rules. He also said that drug prices were one of four central priorities that would guide him as HHS Secretary if confirmed. The others, he testified, would be making health care more affordable and available, shifting Medicare further in the direction of creating incentives for good health outcomes rather than the volume of medical care, and fighting “the scourge of the opioid epidemic.” He did not address how he would approach the other three priorities. Azar’s confirmation is considered highly likely, with no Senate Republicans wavering on his nomination.

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