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Thursday October 17th, 2019 2:09PM

Senate confirms Alex Azar as Trump's 2nd health secretary

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has confirmed a former drug company executive as President Donald Trump's second health secretary.

Alex Azar will take on the leadership of the Department of Health and Human Services. The sprawling agency has been shaken by the administration's tumultuous first year.

The 55-43 vote was largely along party lines.

HHS is a $1 trillion department that oversees major health insurance programs, drug and food safety, disease control and prevention, and advanced medical research. Azar succeeds Tom Price, who resigned amid questions about his travel.

Azar says his priorities are to help curb high prescription drug costs, make health insurance more affordable and available, focus Medicare payments on quality, and confront the growing opioid addiction epidemic.

He previously held high-level HHS posts under former President George W. Bush.

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