Azar, 50, is likely to oversee GOP efforts to reshape the department’s priorities via executive action, ranging from scaling back the Medicaid health program to pushing religious rights. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The U.S. Senate confirmed Alex Azar to head the Department of Health and Human Services, setting a permanent replacement for Tom Price four months after he was ousted amid a scandal over his travel. 

The vote was 55-43 backing the former Eli Lilly & Co. executive to take the nation’s top health post. HHS, with a budget of more than $1 trillion, is responsible for the U.S. Medicare and Medicaid health programs, as well as agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. 

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