President-elect Joe Biden today nominated California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as the next Health and Human Services Secretary.

“America’s hospitals and health systems applaud the nomination of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to be the next Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. As California Attorney General, he has led the effort to protect the Affordable Care Act and its important protections and coverage for patients. We have also worked with him as a longtime former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, including as a member of the Ways and Means Committee’s health subcommittee. He has been a champion for affordable health access and coverage, which the AHA has supported, and he has consistently made people across America and their health a priority.

“There are many critical priorities facing the health care field right now, and the patients and communities we care for. Nothing is more critical than the COVID-19 pandemic, and making sure hospitals, health systems and our heroic frontline caregivers have the resources and support they need to care for patients and win the battle against the virus. We also need to make important progress on advancing the transformation of health care, ensuring access to coverage, making health care equitable to all people in America and enhancing the quality of care.

“The AHA looks forward to working closely with Xavier Becerra and the department to achieve our mutual mission of advancing the health of the patients and communities we are privileged to serve.”

Biden also nominated former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D., as the next Surgeon General; and named Rochelle Walensky, M.D., chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, as the next director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He said Anthony Fauci, M.D., will serve as chief medical adviser to the president on COVID-19, and Marcella Nunez-Smith, M.D., associate dean for Health Equity Research at the Yale School of Medicine, as COVID-19 Equity Task Force chair. In addition, Jeff Zients, a former director of the National Economic Council, will serve as COVID-19 response coordinator; and Natalie Quillian, a former advisor to the Obama administration, as deputy coordinator. See AHA’s statement on these Biden health team members.

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