Lanhee Chen: Confirm Azar as New Secretary for Health and Human Services

President Trump has nominated Alex Azar to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services.

It’s an important job, as the future of Obamacare hangs in the balance and Republicans continue to express their desire to repeal and replace the law.

Azar is highly qualified for the post: He served as the number two official at the department—and its chief counsel—during the George W. Bush Administration. He was a law clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia. And he’s been a senior executive at one of America’s largest pharmaceutical companies.

Some Democrats have suggested that this private sector experience makes Azar the wrong person to help conquer the opioid crisis and to lower drug costs. But they’re wrong. It’s precisely his experience inside the industry that helps him to better understand how we can address these pressing concerns. It’s no exaggeration to say that few people understand the health care policy environment better than Azar.

The Senate is now considering his nomination. Here’s to hoping that they move quickly to confirm Azar, so he can get to work as soon as possible.