Skip to main content

IN THE NEWS: Biden’s Choice for HHS Secretary a “Vigorous Defender” of the ACA

By December 9, 2020No Comments

Throughout his career, Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D-CA) has been fighting to ensure Americans have access to affordable, quality health care, including the Affordable Care Act. During his time in Congress, he was pivotal in helping to pass the health care law, and as California’s attorney general, he has been one of the ACA’s staunchest defenders. He led the fight to protect the law in California v. Texas, the Trump-Republican lawsuit that seeks to completely dismantle the ACA. Here’s a look at Becerra’s long history as a health care champion: 

New York Times: Becerra “Has Been At The Forefront Of Legal Efforts On Health Care, Leading 20 States And The District Of Columbia In A Campaign To Protect The Affordable Care Act.” “But as attorney general in California, he has been at the forefront of legal efforts on health care, leading 20 states and the District of Columbia in a campaign to protect the Affordable Care Act from being dismantled by his Republican counterparts. He has also been vocal in the Democratic Party about fighting for women’s health.” [New York Times, 12/6/20

Associated Press: By Selecting Becerra To Lead HHS, Biden Has Put “A Defender Of The Affordable Care Act In A Leading Role To Oversee His Administration’s Coronavirus Response.” “President-elect Joe Biden has picked California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to be his health secretary, putting a defender of the Affordable Care Act in a leading role to oversee his administration’s coronavirus response.” [Associated Press, 12/7/20

Los Angeles Times: Becerra “Has Become One Of The Most Important Defenders Of The Affordable Care Act.” “Becerra, 62, a rising star in California politics, has become one of the most important defenders of the Affordable Care Act, leading the fight to preserve the landmark law against efforts by the Trump administration and conservative states to persuade federal courts to repeal it. Becerra also has carved out an increasingly important role confronting healthcare costs, using his position to challenge pricing practices at Sutter Health, one of California’s most powerful medical systems. And he has become a leading champion of reproductive health, going to court repeatedly to challenge Trump administration efforts to scale back women’s access to abortion services and contraceptive coverage.” [Los Angeles Times, 12/6/20

CNN: Becerra Served As “Chief Defender Of The Affordable Care Act” Under Trump. “One of Becerra’s highest-profile health care roles recently has been chief defender of the Affordable Care Act in court…In particular, Becerra has pointed to the Affordable Care Act providing coverage for 20 million Americans through Medicaid expansion or the Obamacare exchanges, guaranteeing protections for millions of people with pre-existing conditions and funding state and local public health systems.” [CNN, 12/6/20

CBS News: Becerra Has Served “As A Top Defender Of The Affordable Care Act.” “While he has no medical training or experience in public health, he has served as a top defender of the Affordable Care Act. While in Congress, he was a leading advocate for passage of the law and as California’s attorney general, he has defended the law in federal court, including in recent weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court.” [CBS News, 12/7/20

NBC News: Becerra Is “A Vigorous Defender Of The Affordable Care Act.” “President-elect Joe Biden on Monday picked California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, and created three new senior White House positions intended to signal a more aggressive response to Covid-19, including addressing its disproportionate impact on Black people and Latinos. Becerra, 62, served 12 terms in the House of Representatives and was a vigorous defender of the Affordable Care Act who led the defense of the law in the Supreme Court last month.” [NBC News, 12/6/20

Bloomberg: Becerra Is An “Ardent Backer” Of The ACA, “Having Helped Write The Law And Then Defended It In Court.” “While he may not have worked in the health industry, Biden found in Becerra someone who does have experience in his other key health-care ambition — to expand the Affordable Care Act. Becerra is an ardent backer of it, having helped write the law and then defended it in court, despite his personal preference for the Medicare for All plan that Biden rejected as a candidate.” [Bloomberg, 12/8/20

Reuters: “In Congress, Becerra Played A Key Role In Passing The Affordable Care Act.” “In Congress, Becerra played a key role in passing the Affordable Care Act – former President Barack Obama’s key domestic policy achievement. In his current role, Becerra leads the coalition of 20 states defending the program better known as Obamacare, including before the Supreme Court last month.” [Reuters, 12/6/20

Bloomberg: “The Most Important Consideration Was Becerra’s History Of Fighting For The Affordable Care Act.” “As California attorney general, Becerra has led other states with Democratic attorneys general to file lawsuits defending the Affordable Care Act against the efforts of President Donald Trump’s administration to dismantle it…A person familiar with Biden’s thinking said the most important consideration was Becerra’s history of fighting for the Affordable Care Act, first for its passage while he served in the House, and then as California attorney general.” [Bloomberg, 12/6/20

Kaiser Health News: “Becerra Mounted A Vigorous Defense Of Democratic Health Laws Against The Trump Administration And Other Republicans.” “On Monday, Biden announced he has asked Becerra to serve as HHS secretary. Becerra mounted a vigorous defense of Democratic health laws against the Trump administration and other Republicans. He led the effort by 20 states and the District of Columbia to fight a suit brought by Republican state officials and supported by President Donald Trump to overturn the Affordable Care Act. That case was argued before the Supreme Court last month.” [Kaiser Health News, 12/8/20

NPR: “Becerra’s Experience As California Attorney General Could Prove Useful” As Biden Seeks To Strengthen The ACA. “As the top law enforcement official in California, Becerra has repeatedly gone to court to fight Trump administration policies on healthcare, the environment and immigration. Earlier this year, he led a coalition of 20 states and D.C. that asked the Supreme Court to review a circuit court decision that could invalidate the Affordable Care Act…This means much of Biden’s ability to keep promises around strengthening the ACA will require administrative and executive action, and Becerra’s experience as California attorney general could prove useful. He holds a law degree from Stanford.” [NPR, 12/6/20

The Hill: Becerra’s “Work On Defending The Affordable Care Act From Trump Administration Attacks…May Have Won Him The Role.” “California Attorney General Xavier Becerra would be taking over the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as secretary amid the worst pandemic in a century if confirmed by the Senate, but it’s his work on defending the Affordable Care Act from Trump administration attacks that may have won him the role. As California attorney general, Becerra helped lead the legal fight to protect the health care law from a Trump-backed lawsuit against it. He also led a whole slew of lawsuits against the Trump administration’s regulatory changes to ObamaCare and abortion policy.” [The Hill, 12/7/20

Politico: Becerra “Will Get To Refocus The Sprawling Department’s Work On Expanding Health Coverage And Fortifying The Affordable Care Act.” “Becerra, if confirmed, will get to refocus the sprawling department’s work on expanding health coverage and fortifying the Affordable Care Act, with the law appearing likely to survive its latest bout at the Supreme Court. He’ll also have to reverse signature Trump policies on reproductive health, refugees and safety net program like Medicaid. With Congress gridlocked on many of those issues, Becerra’s HHS would become the Biden administration’s prime engine for change on a host of policy priorities.” [Politico, 12/7/20]