In just one of many high profile departures from the still comparatively young Trump Administration, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned in September after it was revealed that he was using private planes to get around and had subsequently cost U.S. taxpayers around $1 million.
Now, President Trump has announced his pick to replace Price — doing so on Twitter, of course, because he has yet to grasp the fact that social media is not the place for major policy announcements.
‘Happy to announce, I am nominating Alex Azar to be the next HHS Secretary. He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!’
Trump’s idea of “better” health care has long been revealed as health care that serves the interests of upper class Americans above those of everyone else.
He wants health care that is as cheap as possible, with little regard to the actual quality of that care. Comparatively moderately increased costs are associated with the Affordable Care Act’s demands that health care be provided to all Americans, but Trump is ready and willing to cast aside that concern in favor of saving the wealthy money — and so is Azar.
Azar has worked in government before, and his knowledge of and experience with the regulatory process lends towards him being ready to help the Trump Administration along in its goal of undermining the ACA through non-legislative means.
Showing just how unpopular the GOP’s plans to repeal the ACA really are, party leadership couldn’t even get a majority of their party’s Senate members behind their plan.
Although he was not the only GOP U.S. Senator to oppose the party’s ACA-repeal plan, Arizona’s U.S. Senator John McCain famously shot down one incarnation of the GOP’s ObamaCare repeal efforts with a dramatic, late night “No”
About 48 percent of Americans presently say that they support the ACA, while only about 41 percent say they oppose the measure — barely more than support the president himself.
Indeed, underscoring just what an uphill battle it is for Trump to accomplish his goal of repealing the ACA, the law itself is more popular than he is.
Only about 39 percent of Americans presently approve of the job Trump is doing in office.
Azar has worked in the Department of Health and Human Services in the past. He was general counsel for the department from 2001 through 2005 — assisting in the government’s response to the 9/11 terror attacks — before going on to serve as Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services for two years.
In light of his experience in the department, Tevi Troy, who served deputy head of the White House Domestic Policy Council under President George W. Bush, commented that Azar would bring “competence, leadership, a smart, conservative agenda, and also an understanding of how the regulatory process works” to the position he’s been nominated for.
Troy continued by commenting that he thinks Azar’s experience with the regulatory process “is important given that the Trump administration is trying to accomplish a lot of its health policy goals via the administrative process.”
Not only is Azar a friend of the Trump Administration in their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but he’s also a former health industry executive, having served in that role for about a decade.
The potential conflict of interest on the part of Azar should he be confirmed wouldn’t be unique among presidential
Cabinet members. For instance, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos had worked to undercut public schools for some time before taking on her present job leading public schools.
Check out Twitter’s response to Trump’s nomination of Azar below.
Featured Image via AARON FAVILA/AFP/Getty Images