Becerra supports access to care, provider financing during confirmation hearing

HHS secretary nominee Xavier Becerra on Tuesday put his support behind efforts to enhance access to care, aligning himself along with President Joe Biden’s healthcare plan.

During their confirmation hearing before the Senate Panel on Health, Education, Labor plus Pensions, the current California attorney common focused on issues affecting the health care industry, including coverage expansion, entry to care and provider funding. He could be also slated to appear before the complete Senate on Wednesday.

Several senators asked Becerra how he planned to address supplier shortages that have limited underserved communities’ ability to get the care they need. Becerra leaned heavily on efforts to boost the pipeline of providers, which includes Congress’ recent decision to fund one, 000 more graduate medical training slots. He also supported the particular growth of Federally Qualified Neighborhood Health Centers and the National Wellness Service Corps to improve access to treatment.

But the HHS nominee never mentioned increasing the amount of work visas for providers, growing providers’ scope of practice, depending more on non-physician providers like nps or physicians’ assistants for major care and other services or different ways to boost provider access.

When it comes to insurance access, Becerra supported the new open enrollment time period for healthcare exchanges as well as a Medicare health insurance buy-in program. He expressed problem about the lack of affordable coverage choices for people without insurance who may qualify for marketplace subsidies. He recommended more people should get bigger tax credits to purchase coverage.

Becerra didn’t solution how he would address the dwindling Medicare trust fund as HHS secretary but said the general money could be used to pay for Medicare growth when Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) asked Becerra about its impact on the trust fund.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) worried that many providers are fighting the difficulty and costs of employing additional staff, improving facilities plus obtaining personal protective equipment throughout the pandemic.

“I was astonished that in a $1. 9 trillion COVID package, the particular administration did not include any money for the provider relief fund, ” the lady said. Collins and Sen. Later on Manchin (D-W. V. ) are usually calling for an additional $35 billion dollars in provider relief funding.

Becerra said he’d ensure that struggling providers get the cash they need, whether through the provider reduction fund or by redirecting some other financial resources to the providers hardest strike by the pandemic.