Biden’s HHS pick could grant states waivers to pursue single-payer health care
Xavier Becerra is a supporter of Medicare-for-All
President-elect Joe Biden’s choice for secretary of health and human services, Xavier Becerra, has previously supported transitioning to a single-payer system – and if approved for the new Cabinet role he would be able to advance that policy if he wanted.
Becerra said in a 2017 interview with Fox News that he “absolutely” supports Medicare-for-All and had done so for all 24 years.
“As attorney general, I would fight for that if we had an opportunity to put that forward in the state of California because I think what we do is we give people that certainty that they’re going to be able to access a doctor or a hospital,” Becerra said at the time.
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New York Times investigative reporter Sarah Kliff pointed out that, if confirmed, Becerra’s position would give him the authority to grant waivers to states to allow them to set up a single-payer system – or expand the public option – via the Affordable Care Act.
Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., made similar comments when he lauded Biden’s decision to tap the former California lawmaker.
However, Becerra is also a proponent of the Affordable Care Act – saying in a June briefing that the system has been “life-changing,” specifically during the pandemic, as reported by the Times. A source told the publication that Becerra would be on board with helping to protect and strengthen the health care law – which is Biden’s stated goal.
The president-elect has said he does not support Medicare-for-All.
Biden announced on Monday Becerra’s nomination, which was considered somewhat of a surprise.
Before becoming attorney general in California, Becerra served 12 terms in Congress and he succeeded Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the state’s attorney general.
If confirmed by the Senate, he would be the first Latino to run the department.