What Azar Won’t Mention In His ‘State Of The Department’
February 6, 2020
Trump’s HHS Secretary Alex Azar is delivering his “State of the Department” address to highlight the Trump administration’s health care “accomplishments.” Here are some of the things he won’t talk about:
Trump is backing a lawsuit to completely overturn the ACA, jeopardizing preexisting condition protections and coverage for millions – with no plan to replace it.
New York Times: “The Trump administration formally declared its opposition to the entire Affordable Care Act on Wednesday, arguing in a federal appeals court filing that the signature Obama-era legislation was unconstitutional and should be struck down. Such a decision could end health insurance for some 21 million Americans and affect many millions more who benefit from the law’s protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions and required coverage for pregnancy, prescription drugs and mental health.”
The Hill: “Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said Tuesday that ‘there’s really not a need’ for the Trump administration to put forward an Obamacare replacement plan at the moment.”
Azar’s feud with his own Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services director undermined any real work that his department could accomplish.
Politico: “President Donald Trump’s health secretary, Alex Azar, and his Medicare chief, Seema Verma, are increasingly at odds, and their feuding has delayed the president’s long-promised replacement proposal for Obamacare and disrupted other health care initiatives central to Trump’s reelection campaign, according to administration officials.”
Axios: “Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has arranged a conflict resolution session at the White House between the nation’s two top health officials, according to three administration officials… The meeting — scheduled for Thursday but subject to change— was described by one of the officials as an ‘assessment of whether or not both of them are capable of working together like adults.’”
Azar and Trump have failed to follow through on achieving affordable drug costs for Americans.
Politico: “It’s too late for him to make a dent in what people pay for their prescription drugs before the election.”
Reuters: “Novartis AG, Merck & Co Inc and Allergan Plc were among companies that raised U.S. prices on more than 100 prescription medicines on Friday, bringing the tally to 445 drugs that will cost more in 2020, according to data analyzed by healthcare research firm 3 Axis Advisors.”
Kaiser Health News & PolitiFact: “During the 2020 State of the Union address, President Donald Trump zeroed in on prescription drug prices, arguing that his administration is ‘taking on the big pharmaceutical companies.’ Among the evidence for that claim: a talking point the administration has been using since last April. ‘I was pleased to announce last year that, for the first time in 51 years, the cost of prescription drugs actually went down,’ Trump said. We’ve examined this claim twice before, rating it Mostly False. But prescription drug prices are a major voter concern. So we wanted to take another look, in case things had changed. Experts told us the data remains essentially unchanged. Drug prices are still not going down.”
Trump has repeatedly opened the door to dangerous Medicare cuts – which Azar has defended.
New York Times: “President Trump suggested on Wednesday that he would be willing to consider cuts to social safety-net programs like Medicare to reduce the federal deficit if he wins a second term, an apparent shift from his 2016 campaign promise to protect funding for such entitlements.”
PBS: “WATCH: HHS Secretary Azar Defends Proposed Cuts To Medicare Hospital Payments”