The Senate voted 55-43 this afternoon to approve the president’s nomination of Alex Azar to serve as Health and Human Services secretary. The former president of Lilly USA and deputy HHS secretary under the George W. Bush administration has said he will focus his HHS efforts on addressing the high cost of drugs; making health care more affordable, available and individualized; shifting the health care system from paying for sickness and procedures to health and outcomes; and tackling the opioid epidemic. Commenting on Azar’s nomination in November, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said, “We look forward to working side-by-side with him to achieve our mission of advancing the health of the patients and communities we are privileged to serve.” Eric Hargan, who previously served on the president’s transition team and as HHS deputy general counsel, has been serving as acting secretary since Tom Price resigned as HHS secretary in September.

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