Former pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar was confirmed as the Secretary of the Health And Human Services by the Senate on Wednesday. His confirmation vote was 55-43, split mostly along party lines.
Azar plans to focus the HHS Department on tackling Obamacare as it crumbles under financial strain, according to a Washington Free Beacon report.
Azar told the Senate, “The Affordable Care Act has failed millions of Americans who have lost the plans they liked and the doctors they liked.”
Democrats criticized his stance on Obamacare, with Virginia Senator Tim Kaine claiming that he wants to “sabotage” the Affordable Care Act.
“The Trump administration’s determination to destroy the Affordable Care Act through executive action has destabilized our health care system and threatened coverage for millions,” the former vice presidential candidate crooned.
Azar defended his position. “What I do not support is forcing 6.7 million Americans to pay $3 billion of penalties to not buy something they don’t want to buy through a mandate upon them, 90 percent of whom make $75,000 a year or less.”
Azar also touted his experience in the pharmaceutical industry, saying that he can help create policy that would lower prices of prescriptions.
He told the Senate, “Through my experience helping to implement Part D and with my extensive knowledge of how insurance, manufacturers, pharmacy and government programs work together, I believe I can bring skills and experiences to the table that can help address these issues.”
Utah GOP Senator Orrin Hatch praised Azar’s nomination. “You’re one of the best public servants that I’ve seen in the whole time that I’ve been here.”
Alex Azar previously served as United States Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services during the George W. Bush administration.
Previous HUD Director Tom Price resigned in September 2017 after being criticized for using public and private transportation during his tenure.