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Murray Statement on Nomination of Alex Azar to be Secretary of Health and Human Services

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, issued the following statement on news that President Trump nominated pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar to the role of Secretary of Health and Human Services.

“The Trump Administration has so far run the Department of Health and Human Services with one goal: imposing its harmful ideology on patients, women, and families. Under former Secretary Price’s leadership the Department has sabotaged families’ coverage, tried time after time to jam Trumpcare through Congress, eroded women’s access to reproductive care, and more—all while failing to adequately respond to urgent public health crises or follow through on President Trump’s campaign promises about tackling the opioid epidemic and bringing down skyrocketing drug prices.


“The Administration’s approach is completely counter to the mission of our nation’s health department. It has hurt people across the country and moved us further from the goal of ensuring every single person in the United States has quality, affordable health care. The next Secretary of Health must be squarely focused on strengthening health and wellbeing for everyone, rather than on carrying out President Trump’s extreme, politically driven, and harmful agenda.


“In considering Mr. Azar’s nomination I will seek to understand 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. I am also interested in how, given Mr. Azar’s professional background, he believes he can fairly execute any significant effort to lower drug prices for patients—and I will do everything I can to ensure he meets the highest ethical standards, especially in the wake of former Secretary Price’s financial conflicts and abuse of office. 


“Patients and families have spoken and made clear they when it comes to health care, they expect President Trump and Republican leaders to put people before politics—and I hope to hear from Mr. Azar that he will listen, in particular by supporting the bipartisan legislation Chairman Alexander and I introduced with strong support from Democrats and Republicans, which would lower families’ health care costs and begin to repair the damage President Trump has caused.


“I look forward to meeting with Mr. Azar and evaluating his qualifications through thorough, rigorous vetting and hearings.”