The Senate Jan. 24 voted 55-43 to confirm Alex Azar as Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary. During his confirmation hearings, Azar highlighted his top priorities, which include: addressing high drug prices; making health care more affordable, more available, and more tailored to what individuals want and need in their care; harnessing the power of Medicare to shift the focus in our health care system from paying for procedures and sickness to paying for health and outcomes; and tackling the scourge of the opioid epidemic [see Washington Highlights, Jan. 12].
Six Democrats voted in support of Azar: Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was the lone Republican to oppose Azar.