HomeWashington Letter2018 ▶ Senate Panel Approves Health and Human Services Secretary Nomination
Senate Panel Approves Health and Human Services Secretary Nomination

This week, the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), approved the nomination of Alex Azar as the Trump administration’s nominee for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services by a vote of 15 – 12.  Sen. Tom Carper was the only Democrat to join committee Republicans in supporting Mr. Azar’s appointment.   Mr. Azar is a former Eli Lilly executive and also served as Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services under the George W. Bush administration.

In a Finance Committee hearing last week, Mr. Azar was questioned by committee members about prescription drug price increases during his tenure at Lilly, his plans for addressing drug costs, his views on Medicaid and how he will address the opioid crisis. In his responses on drug costs, Azar stated that lowering drug prices would be a priority and that he favored trade agreements and list price adjustments as ways to lower drug costs. 

Although some Senate Democrats will vote against Azar’s nomination due to concerns over his record on drug costs, it is expected that he will be confirmed by the Senate. A Senate confirmation vote has not yet been scheduled but is expected within the next few weeks.

Last Reviewed: January 19, 2018