Azar at his Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing earlier this month. Photo: Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call via Getty

The Department of Health and Human Services is about to have a permanent leader for the first time since September. The Senate has confirmed Alex Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive, to be the next HHS secretary. He'll replace Tom Price, who resigned in September under heavy criticism for his frequent use of private planes.

What's next: He's not a fan of the Affordable Care Act, so don't expect HHS to enforce it more enthusiastically now that Price is gone. Don't look for an aggressive crackdown on rising drug prices, either. But Azar may be more open to other health care policies that Price opposed, like mandatory pilot programs, as Axios' Sam Baker has pointed out.

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The TikTok deal's for-show provisions and flimsy foundations

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The new deal to rescue TikTok from a threatened U.S. ban — full of provisions aimed at creating the temporary appearance of a presidential win — looks like a sort of Potemkin village agreement.

How it works: Potemkin villages were fake-storefront towns stood up to impress a visiting czar and dignitaries. When the visitors left, the stage set got struck.

  • Similarly, many elements of this plan look hastily erected and easily abandoned once the spotlight moves on.
55 mins ago - Technology

Over 3 million U.S. voters have already registered on social media

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

An estimated 2.5 million+ Americans have registered to vote on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, Facebook announced Monday. More than 733,000 Americans have registered to vote so far via Snapchat.

Why it matters: The broad reach of social media platforms makes them uniquely effective at engaging voters — especially younger voters who may not know how to register to vote or be civically engaged.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Wall Street: Recession is over

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. economic activity fell more sharply in the second quarter of this year than during any other quarter in history. It's also going to grow more sharply in the third quarter of this year than during any other quarter in history.

  • The recession is over, according to Wall Street, with current forecasts showing sustained economic growth through 2021 and beyond.