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Alex Azar, a Toxic Choice to Lead US Health Agency

The number of Alex Azar to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) represents yet one more occasion of the Trump Administration elevating an anti-choice man to a place of energy over women’s health and our bodies. The Senate Finance Committee assembly this week ought to reject his nomination, stated the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC).

While Azar could also be much less of an ideological crusader than his predecessor, former Congressman Tom Price, his document is however clear: Azar has persistently supported efforts to prohibit women’s rights.

As head of the HHS, Azar would oversee US global health policy and commitments, and play a vital position on the World Health Assembly (WHA), the governing physique of the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO units international requirements and steerage for sexual and reproductive health care, together with crises corresponding to Zika, which could possibly be topic to political meddling from the US authorities if ideological positions maintain sway. His appointment comes at a important time, as HHS is presently contemplating a draft strategic plan that proposes policy-making based mostly on spiritual ideology, fairly than details and proof.

A pharmaceutical government with a historical past of elevating drug costs, Azar additionally served underneath anti-choice Supreme Court Justice Antonio Scalia, and as Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services underneath President George W. Bush.

In the latter position, Azar praised the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, laws handed in 2002 to prolong authorized safety to infants born alive after a failed try at induced abortion, and spoke concerning the significance of “protecting the health and well-being of the unborn, the sick, and the dying.” He additionally praised spiritual refusal legal guidelines that let docs to refuse to present or refer for abortion providers, proscribing the care out there to women who want health care. Azar additionally has donated vital cash in recent times to anti-choice candidates.

Azar raised further pink flags when, at a Senate listening to in late 2017, he argued that employers ought to have a say in women’s reproductive decisions, stating “We have to balance a woman’s choice of insurance with the conscience of their employers.” Azar went on to describe defending employers’ capacity to object to health care on the idea of private views as being a a part of “American values,” suggesting that he would, if confirmed, prioritize so-called “conscience” provisions on the expense of women’s health and rights.

Like the remainder of President Trump’s HHS appointments, Azar has closely criticized the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which he shall be tasked with implementing if confirmed as Secretary however which he has prompt he would work to dismantle from contained in the company.  He lately stated this system was “circling the drain” and cited the “tremendous amount of authority” given to the HHS Secretary as a potential device to undermine the regulation if congress failed to repeal the ACA. Like different Trump nominees, he has been a vocal opponent of the very packages he’s being tasked to lead.

Azar can be the newest in a string of confidants of Vice President Mike Pence to be put in at HHS. Other Pence allies on the company already embrace Seema Verma, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator; Surgeon General Jerome Adams; spokesman Matt Lloyd; Medicaid director Brian Neale; and Brady Brookes, the deputy chief of employees within the Office of the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  The focus of Pence allies at HHS means that the vice chairman—a longtime proponent of proscribing women’s entry to health care in addition to a vocal opponent of the Affordable Care Act—wields a nice deal of affect over this Administration’s health care decision-making.

The nationwide elevation of this so-called “Indiana braintrust” is much more regarding as a result of Indiana has a number of the lowest health indicators of any state within the United States. A 2016 United Health Foundation survey ranked Indiana as solely the 39th healthiest state within the nation; specialists have attributed its poor efficiency on the low public health spending—together with on preventative and education schemes—championed by then-Governor Pence and his allies. The nationalization of Indiana’s healthcare insurance policies is dangerous information for Americans, and the exportation of those concepts around the globe would have devastating penalties for international health.

As the US authorities company charged with defending public health, the management of HHS has main implications for the lives of women and women within the United States and all over the world. IWHC has critical considerations about Azar’s historical past of supporting candidates and insurance policies that search to prohibit women’s entry to health care providers. We urge the Senate to reject his nomination.

Photo: C-SPAN

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