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Va. governor-elect reappoints health secretary

Wednesday - 12/18/2013, 2:20pm  ET

Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Democratic Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe is retaining his Republican predecessor's health and human resources secretary.

McAuliffe said at a news conference Wednesday that Bill Hazel is the best person for the job. Hazel has been a member of Gov. Bob McDonnell's Cabinet for the last four years.

Hazel enjoys bipartisan support in the General Assembly, where he will lead McAuliffe's effort to expand Medicaid under the federal health care reform law to cover an additional 400,000 low-income Virginians. The Republican-controlled House of Delegates opposes expansion, but McAuliffe said Hazel will be an "invaluable asset" in working with both sides toward his top health-care priority.

McAuliffe also said that as an orthopedic surgeon, Hazel brings a helpful practitioner's perspective to health care policy.

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