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Biden’s Health and Human Services pick has no public health experience

President-elect Joe Biden surprised the health community when he announced his pick for Health and Human Services Secretary earlier this week, Xavier Becerra, the attorney general of California.Becerra’s legal background made him an unusual pick for the country’s top health official, but the choice shows that Biden is looking beyond the current pandemic, and how he wants healthcare managed in the future.The California Democrat has a history of fighting for the Affordable Care Act and women’s health. Most recently he led a coalition of 23 states and the District of Colombia in petitioning the Supreme Court to strike down the Trump-Pence Administration’s Title X rule – which “gagged” the federal family planning program by restricting funding to preventative healthcare, and prohibited doctors from being able to refer patients for abortion procedures.“A patient’s medical decisions are between her and her doctor or healthcare provider, not between her and the President or Vice President,” Becerra said in an October statement. “Once again, this Administration is playing games with reproductive healthcare, putting politics ahead of patients.”Becerra’s nomination has been met with some trepidation by anti-choice Republicans and religious groups who say he undercuts Biden’s attempts to bridge the partisan divide in Congress.“Xavier Becerra is a disaster for religious freedom and pro-life issues,” Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., said on Twitter following Biden’s announcement. “He has made his career aggressively pursuing a radical pro-abortion agenda and attacking the religious freedom of Americans who believe in the sanctity of human life.”President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Albert Molher, called Biden’s pick proof of an “abject lie” in his attempt to select moderate cabinet members.“Biden’s choice of Xavier Becerra as HHS Secretary shows the abject lie of the ‘moderate’ Biden and sets up a fight the Republicans in the Senate had better not lose,” Mohler said.BIDEN HHS PICK BECERRA ‘LOOKS FORWARD’ TO WORKING ‘IN GOOD FAITH’ WITH REPUBLICANS, DEMOCRATS IF CONFIRMEDBut not all religious organizations condemned the pick.The Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA) said they were “encouraged” by Biden’s choice in the nation’s top health official.“HHS Secretary-designee Xavier Becerra has been a strong partner with CHA in defending the Affordable Care Act and for advocating for greater access to quality, affordable health care coverage for everyone, particularly the most vulnerable,” Sister Mary Haddad, President and CEO of CHA said in a statement. “California Attorney General Becerra has spent his career fighting for underserved communities, and I appreciate his efforts to protect the welfare of immigrants and migrants.”“I look forward to working with him to advance policies that address inequities of care in communities burdened by poverty and injustice,” she added.Biden’s decision to choose Becerra shows a definite priority his administration will pursue in bolstering the Affordable Care Act and reversing health initiatives that affect women, particularly in low-income communities.Becerra’s experience in the medical arena transcends to bipartisan issues, like the fight against opioid abuse and lowering prescription drug prices.But the role he’s played in protecting the ACA from Republican lawmakers seeking to dismantle the federal health program is likely what landed him the job.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPBecerra stepped in to protect the program millions of Americans rely on in 2018, when GOP-led states sued to overturn the Obama-era program.The Supreme Court is expected to make a ruling on the case, which finished up oral arguments last month. GOP officials have said that the entire law is unconstitutional after Republicans removed the penalty charge for American’s that did not pay into a health insurance scheme.“Xavier spent a year fighting to expand access to healthcare, reducing racial health disparities, protecting the Affordable Care Act and taking on powerful special interests who prey on, profit off of people’s help, from opioid manufactures to big tobacco,” Biden said when announcing Becerra’s nomination to his cabinet, “No matter what happens in the Supreme Court he’ll lead our efforts to build on the Affordable Care Act. He’ll work to expand coverage and take bold steps to lower healthcare and prescription drug costs.”

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