US Asia-Pacific Regional Media Hub: ROADSHOW ON USA HEALTH POLICIES
For a third time, Marino World has been invited for a telephonic press briefing, this time with US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex M. Azar II on United States global health collaboration. Launched August 12th, it was hosted at the Taiwan National University, linking mostly the mass media of East Asia and Indo Pacific.
His three guiding strategies for HHS programs: facilitating patient-centered healthcare markets, protecting life and lives, and promoting independence.
The editors of Marino World opted to be just active observers, more focused on reportage than discussions of set US health policies. However, they appreciate US efforts to mine for trends to better address global sensitivities.
Azar has pioneered a patient-centered approach to the value-based transformation of the American healthcare system, around price and quality, outcomes-based payments, interoperable health IT, provider collaboration, and unprecedented regulatory relief that places patients over paperwork.
He served HHS as General Counsel from 2001 to 2005; as Deputy Secretary from 2005 to 2007.
Azar clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia before practicing law. He graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in economics and government from Dartmouth College and earned a law degree from Yale University.
On opening statement, Azar wrapped a snide on the People’s Republic of China (PRC) reportage on the COVID-19 declaring “… it would have been reported in a timely, accurate, and transparent manner under the International Health Regulations under which Taiwan has been a model of compliance.”
Later in the visit, Azar even claimed PRC “blocked” and “bullied” ROC (Taiwan) for 40 years from admission and participation at the World Health Organization (WHO).
Azar’s meeting with business executives also gathered interest; more so closed door meetings with President Tsai, Vice President Chen, Vice Premier Lai, Foreign Affairs Minister Wu, Vice Premier Wu (the latter accompanied him at the Chang Hong face mask machine factory).
Business and political ramifications were obvious, triggering questions on these opened by Tingting Liu of TVBS News-Taipeh. Helen Davidson of Guardian-UK sees Azar’s visit as provocative. More as business, by Kathrin Hille, Financial Times-Taipeh; more as political, by Nhu Nguyen, OEC-Vietnam and Erik Bagshaw, Morning Herald-Canberra.
Steady on the course.
From the briefing transcript provided by Zia Syed, Moderator and Director- U.S. Department of State’s Asia Pacific Media Hub in Manila, Secretary Azar was quite focused on the objectives of the trip. He has Taiwan as a natural ally through the American Institute in Taiwan and the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office.
For while PRC is rebuilding the Silk Trade – the greatest engineering feat ever of mankind ---Secretary Azar is heads up that the United States remains as the largest supporter and funder of global health security.
He soft-pedalled on South Korea’s pandemic statistics but projected US leadership on solutions, particularly Operation Warp Speed (and the Moderna vaccine), implemented by Pres. Donald Trump.