On today’s Focus on the Family Broadcast, I have the pleasure of talking with Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar.
It might surprise you that with a budget of $1.4 trillion dollars, the HHS is the largest cabinet department on earth. If it were a country, it would be only behind the United States, China, Japan, Germany and France.
Given the programs and responsibilities entrusted to Secretary Azar, including Medicare, Medicaid and the Food and Drug Administration, the department’s work is vital – and especially in the age of the coronavirus global pandemic.
Secretary Azar, who also serves on the COVID-19 Taskforce, shared with me that the group is very collegial and laser-focused on fighting the virus. It won’t surprise you that he said to be skeptical of what you read in the mainstream media about supposed dysfunction and infighting.
“We’re feeling a great deal of optimism and confidence in part because of the tremendous work the President and Vice President have done in leading us through this, the collaboration with our nation’s governors, and the harnessing of the entire massive private sector here in the United States,” he told me.
We all should be heartened to know that key posts within the Trump administration are staffed by quality people of faith like Alex Azar. Formerly the president of Lilly USA, a biopharmaceutical company, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s former law clerk isn’t shy about taking socially conservative positions on some hotly debated issues.
In a written response to Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Mr. Azar boldly but simply stated, “The mission of HHS is to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, and this includes the unborn.”
Alex Azar is a strong Christian and told me he reads and keeps an open Bible on his desk every day. He and his wife, Jennifer, are prayerfully raising two children.
During our discussion, we talked about the unique needs facing children in foster care during the pandemic who may have already aged out of the system. With colleges closing and many businesses closed, where are these individuals supposed to go? How are they to survive?
Thankfully, HHS is working closely with agencies to help serve these vulnerable individuals.
We also discussed the spike in mental health concerns coming out of the coronavirus crisis. Between a rising death rate attributable to the virus, increased isolation and the financial stresses attached to 26 million Americans out of work, what can be done to help?
I hope you’ll tune in to hear our conversation and join me in praying for Secretary Azar, his family and the entire team working tirelessly around the clock to help eradicate this virus.