Azar, 50, a lawyer by training, has spent most of the past 10 years with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, rising to president of its key USA affiliate before leaving in January to start his own consulting firm. Mr. Trump said Mr. Azar would be "a star and lower drug prices!"
Azar would be Trump's second HHS secretary, replacing former Georgia congressman Tom Price, ousted after his use of private charter planes for government travel displeased the president.
"LeadingAge looks forward to ongoing collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services - including a new secretary - as we work, on behalf of our 6000+ members and partners, to ensure the overall health and wellbeing of older adults across the country", she said in an emailed statement to Home Health Care News.
If confirmed, Azar will take over the administration's management of the Affordable Care Act.
"He's precise, highly motivated, he has high standards for performance for himself and for other people", said Mike Leavitt, who was HHS secretary when Azar was deputy.
The firm represents a sophisticated client base of Fortune 100 life sciences, health care services companies, and providers as well as innovative, venture and private equity backed companies in diagnostics, digital health, health information technology and health care services. Early enrollment in Obamacare plans earlier this month was also up considerably compared to previous year. Azar must be approved by the Senate.
If confirmed, Alex Azar would oversee a $1 trillion department responsible for major health insurance programs, including "Obamacare", as well as medical research, food and drug safety, and public health.
The Washington Post reported that the Yale Law school grad clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a Trump favorite, while also working for former special counsel Kenneth Starr during the Whitewater investigation of Bill and Hillary Clinton.