Former pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar was confirmed as the Secretary of the Health And Human Services by the Senate on Wednesday. His confirmation was split down party lines because he’s very much an anti-Obamacare guy.
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, of course, criticized his stance on Obamacare, with Virginia Senator Tim Kaine claiming that he wants to “sabotage” the Affordable Care Act. In all fairness, the ACA has done a great job of “sabotaging” itself as it collapses under its own weight.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) praised Azar for his integrity. “You’re one of the best public servants that I’ve seen in the whole time that I’ve been here,” Hatch said at the Senate hearing.
Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.), the senior Democrat on the Senate health committee, said Azar is “out of touch” on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision granting a constitutional right to abortion. “I’m alarmed that Mr. Azar believes a woman’s employer should be able to decide, based on ideology, whether or not her birth control should be covered. I’m alarmed by his extreme and out-of-touch views on Roe v. Wade,” Murray said. Fascinating. Murray is “alarmed” that people should have choices? That employees should be allowed to decide what coverage if any is provided? Seems like too much freedom for the Democrats.
Azar said the Trump administration has not tried to simply sabotage Obamacare; rather, Republicans have repealed undesirable parts of the law such as the individual mandate. He argued it is important to get Americans insured while not overburdening them with penalties. “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 said.
Azar testified that he would use his experience in the pharmaceutical industry to help the American people by working to reduce drug prices. “Drug prices are too high,” Azar said. “The president has made this clear. So have I. 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.”
Could Azar be the last piece of the puzzle needed to completely do away with the disaster that is Obamacare? Here’s hoping.
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