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Xavier Becerra’s Decades-Long Health Care Record

By December 11, 2020No Comments

Xavier Becerra has been on the frontlines fighting for health care throughout his career by working to expand people’s access to health care and protect underserved communities — all while taking on powerful special interests. Becerra’s decades of experience in health care make him uniquely qualified to serve as Health and Human Services Secretary as our country faces the challenges of an ever-worsening global pandemic. As California’s AG, Becerra held drug companies accountable for the opioid crisis and stopped hospital systems from overcharging patients. He’s been on the legal forefront of defending the Affordable Care Act, opposing junk plans and fighting pharmaceutical companies to make prescription drugs more affordable. Becerra will undo the sabotage Republicans have been waging on health care for the last decade and use his policy experience to enact President-elect Biden’s vision of lowering health care costs, expanding access and improving care.

Expanding Access To Care 

  • Becerra was an original co-sponsor of the Affordable Care Act and helped write the portion of the ACA that addresses Medicare benefits and reimbursements. 
  • Becerra served in Congress for 24 years and was the first Latino to serve on the House Ways and Means Committee where he tirelessly worked to protect Medicare and Social Security.
  • Starting in 2007, Becerra was the lead sponsor of the Medicare Savings Programs Improvement Act. The bill expanded cost-sharing subsidies for low-income seniors who receive both Medicare and Medicaid benefits by increasing the amount of resources they could receive and making assistance available to more seniors who need medical care, but can’t afford it. Portions of Becerra’s legislation were included in legislation passed by the House in 2008 and 2015
  • Becerra sponsored legislation to raise the cap on benefits for patients receiving Medicare physical therapy. 
  • In 2009, Becerra sponsored the E-Centives Act, which provided incentives for Medicaid providers to improve care by implementing electronic health records. A version of Becerra’s bill was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. 
  • Becerra helped draft the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act (IMPACT) of 2014, requiring the HHS Secretary to conduct research on issues related to socioeconomic status in Medicare’s value-based programs.
  • As California Attorney General, Becerra worked with the state senate on legislation that would make healthcare more affordable and accessible by cracking down on anticompetitive behavior and consolidation in the healthcare market. The bill required the Attorney General’s Office to review and approve affiliations or acquisitions between healthcare systems, facilities, or provider groups to ensure transactions either improve care coordination or increase healthcare access for underserved populations. 

Fighting to Protect the Affordable Care Act

  • In the House, Becerra fought back against multiple attempts to repeal and sabotage the Affordable Care Act, voting at least nine times against efforts to fully repeal or defund the law. Becerra stood up to protect the law and its achievements, which he said he was “very proud” of. 
  • Becerra has been a stalwart legal defender of the Affordable Care Act, taking on at least four cases to protect the law: 
    • Becerra has led the 20+ state coalition of attorneys general fighting to protect the Affordable Care Act from the Republican effort to repeal the entire law via the California v. Texas lawsuit. The case was heard at the Supreme Court on November 10, 2020. 
    • Becerra joined a coalition of attorneys general filing a lawsuit in opposition to the Trump administration’s expansion of Association Health Plans that offer junk insurance that doesn’t have to comply with ACA coverage requirements and protections. 
    • Becerra intervened in House v. Hargan, a lawsuit filed by Republicans seeking to eliminate cost sharing reduction payments and undercut the affordability of the ACA’s health plans. He then led a multi-state coalition in California v. Trump suing the administration over its decision to stop making CSR payments as required by the ACA. 
  • Becerra led a coalition of attorneys general who successfully secured a preliminary injunction against the Trump administration’s “Public Charge” rule, which targeted immigrant families who often rely on health safety net programs. 

Reducing Drug Prices

  • Becerra led the defense of California’s law banning collusive “pay for delay” pharmaceutical agreements that delay generic drugs from entering the market and keep costs high. 
  • Becerra launched a House Affordable Drug Pricing Task Force in 2016 to address the rising costs of prescription drugs. 

Fighting The Covid-19 Pandemic

  • Becerra led a bipartisan multi-state coalition to urge the federal government to take action to increase the supply and affordability of drugs to fight Covid-19.
  • Becerra has repeatedly urged President Trump to fully invoke the National Defense Production Act to ensure that Americans have enough PPE. 
  • In May 2020, Becerra and other state attorneys general called on CMS Administrator Seema Verma to increase transparency and accountability from nursing homes as Covid-19 continued to spread through Medicare and Medicaid facilities. Following Becerra’s letter, CMS issued interim rules to ensure that nursing homes would quickly notify family members of illness and provide data to federal public health institutions about any cases

Reproductive Rights And Equitable Care

  • Becerra sued to overturn the Trump administration’s “Healthcare Refusal Rule,” which jeopardizes health and safety by allowing anyone remotely involved in a healthcare transaction—from doctors to ambulance drivers or front office staff— to deny care on religious or moral objections. 
  • Becerra is a stalwart supporter of reproductive freedom. He led a lawsuit against the Trump administration’s rules that would take away access to birth control and defended the Title X Family Planning Program in court, which funds care for more than four million people each year.