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Opinion
Ramesh Ponnuru

Give Alex Azar Credit for Two Pre-Pandemic Actions

Biden would be wise not to undo reasonable compromises by the Health and Human Services secretary.

Alex Azar might have saved the Biden administration some grief.

Alex Azar might have saved the Biden administration some grief.

Photographer: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Alex Azar, the secretary of Health and Human Services, has been one of the most effective Cabinet heads in the Donald Trump administration, advancing both its economic and its social agenda. When the administration made self-defeating moves on health care, as with its support for a dubious lawsuit seeking to kill Obamacare, it was over Azar’s objections. Operation Warp Speed, which he helped oversee, has yielded vaccines faster than many people thought possible.

Xavier Becerra, the California attorney general who is President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to replace Azar, will seek to reverse many of Azar’s policies if he is confirmed. That’s life in the system of executive government that the U.S. has stumbled into. In two cases, though, Biden and Becerra would be wise to leave Azar’s handiwork in place.