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Capitol Correspondence - 03.23.21

Xavier Becerra Sworn in as HHS Secretary

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Newly confirmed Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra was sworn in virtually on Friday morning, making him the first Latino to hold the position. Becerra’s confirmation will allow HHS to begin shifting out of transition mode into more hands-on policymaking.

In January, prior to his confirmation, ANCOR met with then-nominee Xavier Becerra to discuss disability-specific policy priorities. We will continue those discussions with him now that he is officially the Secretary of HHS. We note, however, that HHS is still short-staffed pending the confirmation of an Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). While Chiquita Brooks-LaSure has been nominated for the CMS Administrator position, a hearing for her confirmation has not yet been scheduled.

One of the main priorities ANCOR will be working on with CMS leadership will be the implementation of the 10-percent increase of the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) for the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services program passed as part of the American Rescue Plan Act. Pending those discussions, we encourage our members to check out this Kaiser Family Foundation brief, which breaks out how much funding could be available for each state through this FMAP bump. Please encourage your state officials to take advantage of this no-cost funding opportunity.