Essential Access Applauds Confirmation of Xavier Becerra as Secretary of Health and Human Services

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Statement by Julie Rabinovitz, President + CEO, Essential Access Health

“Xavier Becerra’s confirmation as our next Secretary of Health and Human Services is a tremendous win for public health nationwide. Now more than ever, we need responsible and bold leadership at HHS. Secretary Becerra is the right choice to lead the agency at this critical time. We applaud the Senate for approving his nomination.

“From championing family planning to protecting the Affordable Care Act and blocking policies that allow health care providers to discriminate against women and LGBTQ patients, Secretary Becerra has demonstrated a deeply-rooted commitment to health access and equity.

“Throughout his decades of public service at the federal level and in California, Secretary Becerra has fought to build a more equitable health system and protect and expand health care for all – including safeguarding the fundamental right to bodily autonomy and access to essential reproductive health services.

“Based on his record, we fully anticipate that Secretary Becerra will move quickly to restore public trust in HHS and roll back and unravel Trump era policies that put public health and safety at risk.

“Trump’s harmful and unlawful regulations for the Title X family planning program dictate a lower standard of care for low-income patients and have devastated the Title X system across the country – disproportionately impacting individuals in rural regions with limited health care options and communities of color. The regulations deny Title X patients complete and unbiased information about their pregnancy options and delay access to time sensitive care like birth control, STD testing and treatment, and unbiased pregnancy options counseling and referrals.

“Secretary Becerra is fully aware that these draconian policy changes aren’t just wrong, they are unconstitutional and jeopardize women’s health. As California’s Attorney General, he filed a legal challenge to halt implementation of the Trump-era regulations and restore Title X’s mandate to provide comprehensive family planning services for all.

“It is our hope and expectation that in his new role, he will take immediate and meaningful action to suspend enforcement of the Trump-era regulations and rebuild our country’s family planning safety-net.

“We are looking forward to working with Secretary Becerra to ensure that everyone – regardless of their race, income, zip code, insurance or documentation status - can get the health care they want and need, with dignity and respect.”