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Capitol Correspondence - 03.02.21

Finance Committee Scheduled to Vote on Becerra HHS Nomination on March 3

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As reported by Politico Pro, “the Senate Finance Committee will vote Wednesday on advancing the nomination of Xavier Becerra for [Health and Human Services] HHS secretary, moving the Biden administration one step closer to filling out its top appointed health positions.” If the Senate Finance Committee votes to move the nomination forward then the full Senate floor will vote on the nomination next; if a majority vote yes, then Xavier Becerra will become the next Secretary of HHS. The prospects for this are good, as during both his hearings last week, committee members stated that it is likely that Xavier Becerra will be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services.

His hearings with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and Senate Finance Committee had a broad focus, covering topics such as drug pricing and patents, tribal health initiatives, and rural hospitals. The links above will lead you to the hearing pages, which feature testimony and videos. A handful of topics relevant to our members emerged during the hearing with the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees Medicaid: expanding telehealth, expanding access to dental care, strengthening Medicaid overall, and collecting demographic data on COVID-19. Becerra, who largely kept his answers succinct, emphasized that he understood that the Medicaid program is a lifeline for many and would work with the Senate on those aforementioned issues. Given a chance to talk about his immediate priorities outside of COVID-19 vaccination, he shared that he would focus on collecting data on underserved communities; training a better and bigger health workforce, including cultural and linguistic competency; and continuing to incorporate social determinants of health in policy discussions.

ANCOR will keep members informed of the final floor vote on Becerra’s nomination once it occurs.