Trump Picks Drug Industry Bandit for HHS Secretary
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Trump’s choice for Health and Human Services director is corporate predator Alex Azar – former president of Lilly USA LLC, Eli Lilly’s largest affiliate company.
In 2012, he headed Lilly’s US operations, was also involved in its international and government affairs work.
Earlier he was GW Bush’s deputy HHS secretary. In 1991, he earned a law degree from Yale, clerked for an appeals court justice, then Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia from 1992 – 1993.
During Ken Starr’s Whitewater investigation, he served in his Office of the Independent Counsel. He practiced law for Washington-based Wiley, Rein and Fielding until 2001, becoming a partner in the firm.
From 2001 – 2005, he was HHS general counsel – for two more years in the department as deputy HHS secretary in an administrative capacity – supervising operations for food and drugs, Medicare, Medicaid, medical research, public health, welfare, child and family services, disease prevention, Indian health, mental health services, emergency preparedness and response.
The FDA, Medicare and Medicaid Services, National Institutes of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported to him.
He was a member of various administration agencies, including the White House Homeland Security Council and National Economic Council.
He serves on various corporate and other boards. On November 13, Trump nominated him to head HHS. He requires Senate confirmation – rubber-stamp given his background.
The agency is responsible for “(i)mproving the health, safety and well-being of Americans.” Yet Azar isn’t an MD, has layman medical knowledge only.
He has no experience in public health, HHS’ main division, responsible for protecting the health of the nation and its citizens. He has no biomedical science background.
His experience is law practice and business – in the drug industry for the past decade, including on the BIO board of directors, an industry lobby.
Earlier at HHS, he was a lawyer/administrator, uninvolved in health issues, what the agency is all about.
Rhetorically he supports lower drug prices. At Lilly, he raised them as much as the market would bear, making them increasingly unaffordable for low and middle income Americans.
They pay the world’s higher prices for prescription drugs – far greater than consumers in other developed and underdeveloped countries.
Azar supports repealing and replacing Obamacare, backs nightmarish Trumpcare.
Its aim is shifting the burden of increasingly expensive healthcare onto the backs of millions of Americans unable to afford a fundamental human right – including gutting Medicaid over the next decade.
If enacted, America’s poor, elderly, disabled, and others with preexisting conditions will be grievously harmed most – a majority of US citizens.
Privatizing Medicare comes next, along with Social Security, transforming both vital programs into profit centers for Wall Street and other corporate predators.
Obamacare was written by corporate lobbyists, representing healthcare industry interests. The same goes for Trumpcare, eliminating the best of Obamacare, the worst of it on steroids.
Political analyst Stephen Wolf earlier tweeted: “Trumpcare doesn’t just repeal Obamacare. It repeals the last 52 years of advances in healthcare policy.”
Its a dagger plunged into the heart of Great Society programs, wanting them gutted to enrich wealthy Americans at the expense of most others.
The world’s richest country is on the brink of thumbing its nose at its most needy – more than ever since establishment of New Deal, Fair Deal and Great Society programs.
Today’s America isn’t the one I grew up in long ago, a better time. Opportunities afforded me no longer exist for most people.
They’re mostly for the privileged few. Class warfare, along with offshoring industrial and other high pay/good benefit jobs to low-wage countries, eliminated them for most others.
The most fundamental human right is affected, along with food, shelter and clothing – the right to affordable healthcare, vital for human life and welfare.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”