[Ip-health] 60+ groups urge Senate to reject Azar

Peter Maybarduk maybarduk at gmail.com
Fri Jan 5 08:28:38 PST 2018

More Than 60 Groups Urge Senators to Reject Azar to Run HHS

Azar Would Be Detrimental to Americans’ Access to Health Care

Jan. 3, 2018

Nadia Prupis, nprupis at citizen.org, (202) 588-7779
Angela Bradbery, abradbery at citizen.org, (202) 588-7741

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Saying that it would be detrimental to Americans for
Alex Azar to be secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS), more than 60 organizations today urged senators not to
confirm him.

In a letter, the groups – representing patients, health care providers,
public health experts, women, people of color, workers, consumers and
people of faith – said they are deeply concerned by statements made by Azar
as well as his record at the pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly and Company.

Read the letter here: https://www.citizen.org/sites/

“We believe that elevating Mr. Azar to Secretary of HHS would be
detrimental to Americans’ access to quality, affordable health care across
the country,” the letter said.

The groups oppose Azar because:

• He has denounced the Affordable Care Act (ACA) even though it expanded
health insurance coverage and access to health care services for millions
of Americans.

• Azar has spoken in favor of converting Medicaid funding into block
grants, which would end guaranteed coverage and cap federal funding of
program costs without regard for program needs, thereby threatening the
services on which millions of Americans depend.

• Azar has said that he does not believe the expansion of Medicaid under
the ACA has been successful. However, the evidence shows the contrary;
states that expanded their Medicaid programs under the ACA have experienced
large reductions in uninsured rates and have seen reduced disparities in
coverage by income, age and race/ethnicity.

• Azar will not commit to supporting mandatory no-cost-sharing
contraceptive coverage by insurers. Access to contraception without charge
ensures that costs do not prevent access to important preventative care,
reducing unintended pregnancies that can lead to adverse maternal and child
health outcomes.

• Azar’s record at Eli Lilly raises doubts about his willingness and
ability to serve the needs of U.S. patients and consumers. While Azar was
president of Lilly USA, Eli Lilly’s U.S. affiliate, its insulin skyrocketed
from $74 to $269. As a result, patients have skipped refills, injected
expired insulin and starved themselves in ineffective attempts to control
blood sugar levels.

• Eli Lilly is facing multiple class-action lawsuits alleging violations of
the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, the Sherman
Antitrust Act, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and numerous
state fraud, unfair trade practices and consumer protection laws related to
the company raising insulin prices in lockstep with Novo Nordisk and
Sanofi. Eli Lilly is also facing a suit brought by the federal government
and 31 states alleging False Claims Act violations involving a scheme to
boost insulin sales, as well as investigations by at least five state
attorneys general.

“At a time when our country is facing a crisis of access to affordable
medicines, we need an untainted and credible advocate for patients and our
health care system,” the groups wrote. “A former prescription drug company
executive with a history of spiking the prices of lifesaving medicines
simply is unqualified to address the needs of our national health care
system. … the health care of all Americans requires a [S]ecretary of HHS
who puts the public above profits and who champions evidence-based
approaches over ideology.”

Public Citizen
100 Campaign
Advocates for Youth
Alliance for Retired Americans
American Medical Students Association
American Muslim Health Professionals
Americans for Democratic Action
Annie Appleseed Project
Bailey House, Inc.
Chronic Illness Advocacy & Awareness Group
Clinicians for Progressive Care
Communication Workers of America (CWA)
CPD Action
Daily Kos
Democratic Socialists of America
Doctors for America
Health Care for America Now
Health Care Voter
Health GAP
Housing Works
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement
Workers of America (UAW)
Jacobs Institute of Women's Health
Latino Medical Student Association
Latinos for a Secure Retirement
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum
National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
National Black Justice Coalition
National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
National Council of Jewish Women
National Health Law Program
National Institute for Reproductive Health
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
National Nurses United (NNU)
National Physicians Alliance
National Women's Health Network
People Demanding Action
People of Faith for Access to Medicines
People's Action
Physicians for a National Health Program
Pride at Work
Progressive Democrats of America
Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS)
Social Security Works
Student Global AIDS Campaign
Treatment Action Group
Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines
Young Invincibles


View this on our press page: https://www.citizen.org/media/press-releases

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