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HHS Archives – Concerned Women for America

CWALAC Letter Opposes Becerra for HHS

By | Legal, Legislative Updates, News and Events | No Comments

Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) submitted a letter to the U.S. Senate opposing the nomination of Xavier Becerra to be Secretary of Health and Human Services. The letter concludes:

Gen. Becerra is a prosecutor and activist with no experience in the healthcare industry, no respect for the conscience rights of American citizens, and no compassion for the lives of the most vulnerable. CWALAC urges all Senators to oppose Xavier Becerra’s nomination to be Secretary of HHS. He is simply the wrong choice for this important position.

Read CWALAC’s full letter here.

Click here to read our general counsel Mario Diaz’ op-ed on the nomination as feature on The Stream.


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Senate Must Do Better for HHS Than Abortion Activist Xavier Becerra

By | LBB, Legal, News and Events | No Comments

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) handles one of the most essential and basic functions of government: public health. Its mission is “to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, by providing for effective health and human services and by fostering sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services.”

The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services leads HHS. It is an important post that requires a knowledgeable and experienced individual.

The previous HHS Secretary under President Donald J. Trump, Tom Price, was a medical doctor with decades of health care policy experience.

Kathleen Sebelius and Sylvia Burwell, who both served as HHS Secretary under President Barack Obama, also had significant health care management background before being nominated.

Sure, one can disagree with their political philosophies and policies (I sure did). Still, Sibelius was the Insurance Commissioner of Kansas for eight years before becoming the Governor of Kansas. Burwell worked for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, becoming the president of their Global Development Program which is highly influential in developing global health policy.

The question is, why in the world is California Attorney General Xavier Becerra President Joe Biden’s nominee for HHS?

A Rabid Abortion Activist

Look, Becerra is an accomplished attorney of Mexican descent, so I’m sympathetic. But Gen. Becerra has zero experience in public health care. Unlike with previous candidates, his career does not suggest he even cares about public health policy.

Gen. Becerra was admitted to the California State Bar in 1985. The next year he was an administrative assistant for California State Senator Art Torres. He then served as deputy attorney general for three years, and his next move was to run and become a State Assemblyman for two years, where he worked on laws revising criminal sentencing.

Then, before taking his current post as Attorney General for California (in 2017), he went to the U.S. House of Representatives, where, again, nothing stands out about his interest in health care policy.

Except in one area: abortion. That has been his focus. Gen. Becerra is a political operative, prosecutor, and a rabid abortion activist. Does that qualify him to lead the nation’s health care policy?

Put aside the abortion issue. There are plenty of abortion proponents with enormous health care experience. Why is Becerra the pick?

Click here to read the rest of this op-ed as featured on The Stream.


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Proposed Soft Ban on Flavored E-Cigarette, Vaping-Devices Prudent Move, Our Children Will Thank us for it One Day…

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Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar earlier this month announced that the White House is revisiting and enhancing an Obama-era rule that, in an effort to protect consumers, would clamp down on flavored e-cigarettes and vaping devices readily available on the market.

“The Trump administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities,” said Azar. “We will not stand idly by as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.”

As a mother, I commend Secretary Azar and the Trump administration for hitting the “Pause” button on the proliferation of potentially harmful flavored e-cigarette and vaping-device products. It’s alarming to me the number of young men coming down with lung-related illnesses from recreational e-cigarette and vaping-device use.

I’ve been haunted for weeks by images of a young man on a ventilator suffering from a mysterious vaping-related injury and applaud the administration for giving medical professionals the time they need to figure out why these products are hurting our young people, as officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they’ve received more than 800 reports of e-cigarette- and vaping-related lung injuries and that authorities still haven’t pinpointed what’s causing the epidemic.

“The specific chemical exposure(s) causing lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use, or vaping, remains unknown at this time,” reads a CDC statement. “More information is needed to know whether one or more e-cigarette or vaping products, substances, or brand is responsible for the outbreak.”

What does this mean? Moms are seeing  otherwise healthy teenagers and young-adult children suffering on ventilators because of e-cigarettes, Juul and other vaping-device brands. The CDC has recommended that, until a cause is found, people abstain from vaping. The FDA launched a criminal investigation into these businesses and the House held a hearing on Sept. 24 regarding this epidemic.

Thirty-seven people, meanwhile, have died as a result of e-cigarette- and vaping-related use. Those who’ve sustained e-cigarette- or vaping-related injuries are predominantly male and 79% are under 35 years of age. Forty percent are between 18 and 24 years old.

The federal minimum age required to even purchase e-cigarettes or vaping devices is 18 yet a whopping 16 percent of patients that have suffered e-cigarette and vaping-related illnesses are younger than 18 years old, according to the CDC. Clearly, the vaping epidemic is disproportionately affecting our young men and that needs to stop before more fall victim to these devices.

About 25 percent of states have taken the moral high ground and increased the minimum age at which someone can legally purchase tobacco and vaping-related devices to 21 years old. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in May introduced legislation proposing these same age increases apply nationwide. “Unfortunately, it’s reaching epidemic levels,” he told USA Today of the vaping-related horror stories he’s received from constituents.

His proposed legislation is a good start but, obviously, young men are still getting their hands on these harmful products. President Donald J. Trump and Secretary Azar are entirely justified in escalating this issue and choking access to these hazardous products by issuing newly enhanced recommendations for manufacturers.

After all, why give an at-risk demographic even easier access to the very products that could be killing them? This travesty is familiar. I was around in the ‘90s when tobacco giants testified before Congress that nicotine was not “addictive” when they knew the opposite. What are these companies and CEOs up to today? They’ve funneled into two addiction-for-profit industries: marijuana and vaping.

Altria, the parent company of Phillip Morris, invested $12.8 billion in Juul last December and invested $1.8 billion in the marijuana company Cronos Group. Phillip Morris International has created a “nonprofit,” the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, to promote the company’s e-cigarette products. Out of the tobacco industry, Altria contributed the most money to candidates and committees in the 2018 election cycle.

RJR Tobacco (Reynolds) produces the e-cigarette VUSE and has now been acquired by British American Tobacco (BAT) which produced its first electronic cigarette in 2013. The U.S. Tobacco Company is a subsidiary of Altria and is now known as the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company. In 2012, Lorillard Tobacco Company purchased “blu,” an e-cigarette brand and became the first tobacco company to invest in the e-cigarette market. It has since been acquired by Reynolds.

The bottom line is this: No one in the halls of government should be allowing easy access to the very chemical that could be injuring and killing our young men. Shame on any leader who caves to the demands of big business over the health and well-being of his or her constituents. Now it’s time to issue the guidance as soon as possible and give investigators and medical professionals the opportunity they need to discover what’s killing our young men