Low profile public profile of Biden health secretary

Health and Human Resources Secretary Xavier Becerra, who said fighting Covid would be a priority for him, seemed "unseen," said former officials

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Last week President Joe Biden unveiled his latest anti-Covid-19 management plan at the National Institutes of Health. However, the head of the NIH and the entire agency assigned to fight the epidemic were not present: Health and Human Resources Secretary Xavier Becerra.

Before Becerra was confirmed this year, he told foremen that fighting the epidemic would be a priority for him.

During Becerra's trial in the Senate in February, Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Noted two challenges of the epidemic and a complex health care system, telling Becerra, "There may not be a high-level job in the area. The executive outside the presidency."

Becerra, a former California attorney general and 12-member congressman, took office in late March. But since his swearing-in, he has not appeared at a press conference in White House or in Covid. His first visit to the NIH was eight months on the job, according to the NIH's online newsletter.

Asked if Becerra was invited to the NIH event, White House spokesman Chris Meagher did not respond directly. He said: “Secretary Becerra is leading an agency that handles some of the critical issues facing our country today, including tackling fertility, combating and reducing drug prices and increasing access to quality, affordable health care. The Secretary has been a strong White House partner on a number of important issues, including our Covid response team. We are strong because of his leadership. ”

Interviews with six former health policy officials in both the Democratic and Republican provinces, as well as three people familiar with the organisation's activities, reveal that it is unknown why Becerra's leadership was invisible, as many of them put it, "invisible."

Becerra dismissed the allegations, saying in a telephone interview that she was focused on work and not on her reputation.

“The best thing I can tell you,” he said, “is that it is not a profile, it is the results, the amount, so at the end of the day, if we do this right, if we focus on machines and if we are driven by results, we will save lives. I suspect that will not only help my profile, but HHS and the management profile in the fight against Covid. "

Becerra cited achievements such as the number of people vaccinated, the lower Covid mortality rate compared to the previous year and the recorded number of people registered for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Becerra’s Twitter and public outings feature a busy Cabinet member who has visited at least 20 states since March discussing issues of importance to management, such as the American Rescue Program, and answering questions from local journalists.

A HHS spokesman said Becerra focused on the following: "to help end the Covid-19 epidemic, reduce health care costs, increase access to health care, address health inequalities, strengthen moral health."

Becerra has never held a press conference where the national media can ask questions about all subjects, according to a complaint she sent out late last month by the Association of Health Care Journalists. The book states that Becerra's governing bodies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NIH and Medicare, make decisions "that affect the lives of all Americans," and noted that his predecessor, Alex Azar, had always held them accountable. media forums. ”

"You should not hold a press conference in Washington, D.C., where you will answer questions on a variety of topics," the letter states. "While our members are grateful that you made yourself available on the street, not everyone has access to those events."