BREAKING: Trump Nominates Former Pharma Exec To Run HHS

Deputy Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar meets reporters at the HHS Department in Washington, Thursday, June 8, 2006 to announce the approval of Gardasil, the first vaccine developed to protect women agai... Deputy Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar meets reporters at the HHS Department in Washington, Thursday, June 8, 2006 to announce the approval of Gardasil, the first vaccine developed to protect women against cervical cancer. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) MORE LESS

On Monday morning, President Donald Trump unveiled his pick to run the Department of Health and Human Services, which has been leaderless since Secretary Tom Price resigned in late September over his use of private jets on the taxpayer’s dime.

The nominee is Alex Azar, a former executive at the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co., who worked at HHS under President George W. Bush.

In his upcoming confirmation process, Azar is expected to field tough questions from Democrats about his views on the Affordable Care Act, drug prices, and how he views the Trump administration’s schizophrenic health policy. 

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said Monday she plans to grill Azar on “whether he is willing to stand up to President Trump and his Administration to ensure the needs of all patients and families are put first, whether science or ideology will drive his decision-making, and whether he plans to continue the Administration’s ongoing and unprecedented attack on women’s constitutionally protected health care rights.”  

Republicans, meanwhile, seem warm to Azar’s candidacy.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, released a statement Monday praising Azar’s “experience, knowledge and fortitude” and expressed hope that he will “right the wrongs” of “Obamacare’s failures.”

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