HHS Names Its First Chief Competition Officer

Jan. 8, 2024
On Jan. 8, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra announced that he had named an HHS senior official to a newly created role intended to promote competition and lower costs

Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra announced on Jan. 8 that he has appointed Stacy Sanders to the role of Chief Competition Officer, per a news release by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The role of Chief Competition Officer has been created to stimulate competition to lower health care and prescription drug costs. HHS: “A Counselor to the Secretary, Ms. Sanders oversees the Department’s implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, long-term care initiatives, policies to promote health care competition, and other Medicare work.”

The new role was created after last month’s announcement of the Biden-Harris Administration to address health care and prescription drug costs. The administration aims to ensure all Americans have access to quality and affordable healthcare. Senior HHS officials believe taxpayer-funded medications should be reasonably obtainable and affordable. By promoting competition, they expect costs to be reduced. Research by the HHS discovered that a lack of competition in drug markets is related to increased pricing. Almost three in ten people struggle to pay for the medication they need, per a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

Ms. Sanders will work with the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice to address concentration in health care markets and develop health care competition policy initiatives. Besides leading efforts to reduce costs for prescription medication and health care services, Ms. Sanders will execute the health care-focused parts of the President’s 2021 Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy.

Stacy Sanders joined the HSS in November of 2022. Previously, she was a staff director of The Senate Special Committee on Aging for U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr. Before that, she was a federal policy director of the Medicare Rights Center. Her experience lies in working on initiatives as they relate to enhancing access to health care, building health and economic security for aging Americans and people with disabilities, enhancing nursing home quality, lowering prescription drug costs, and simplifying Medicare enrollment.

Stacy Sanders, in a statement included in the press release, said, “I look forward to supporting the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to increase competition in health care and lower costs, helping build on steps the Administration has already taken as well as identify opportunities to further spur innovation.”

Secretary Becerra expressed his appreciation for Sanders, saying that “Her stewardship has made a meaningful difference in helping Americans save money on their prescription drug costs. I look forward to seeing her build upon this work and ensure the health care marketplace remains competitive.”

 

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