Following President-elect Biden’s nomination of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), The Century Foundation’s health care experts issued the following statements:

From Dr. Jamila Taylor, TCF Director of Health Care Reform and Senior Fellow

“Xavier Becerra is a superb choice to lead HHS at one of the most critical periods for the health and well-being of Americans in our country’s history. Unlike the Trump administration, Becerra will work tirelessly to contain the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. A believer in health care as a human right, he understands that access to affordable, quality care is essential to leading a life with dignity.

“Perhaps most importantly, Becerra has demonstrated his commitment to advancing health equity, working throughout his career to tackle the vast disparities in health care and health outcomes facing low-income and Black and brown Americans. He has similarly championed the rights of women, including leading efforts to challenge the Trump administration’s assault on reproductive freedom. Himself a child of immigrants, Becerra’s record on defending the rights of immigrants and refugees is second to none—and his confirmation as HHS secretary would be both symbolic and historic.

“TCF looks forward to working closely with Attorney General Becerra and his team at HHS to ensure health equity is built into all layers of the U.S. health care system, strategies, and policy decisions. The next four years present a tremendous opportunity to finally address America’s maternal health crisis. Amid COVID-19, widening racial disparities in health care, and declining public confidence in our public health system, Xavier Becerra is the right choice to address the crises before us and reverse course regarding America’s poor track record on health care.”

From Jen Mishory, TCF Senior Fellow

“Attorney General Becerra helped write and pass the Affordable Care Act, and has led time and again in the fight to protect coverage gains made by the ACA—including in the most recent case before the Supreme Court. He has been a champion for protecting access to health care for the most vulnerable communities. As we look to make bold strides in expanding health care access in the next four years, Becerra is a stellar pick to lead those efforts.”

From Julie Kashen, TCF Director of Women’s Economic Justice and Senior Fellow

Attorney General Becerra recognizes the ways that COVID-19 and the economic crisis precipitated by the pandemic have exacerbated the significant deficiency in public funding for child care and early education. His record suggests that he will be a leader in supporting President-elect Biden’s “Plan for Mobilizing American Talent and Heart to Create a 21st Century Caregiving and Education Workforce.” TCF looks forward to working closely with Attorney General Becerra and his team to address the immediate child care challenges and build a care for all system that will bolster families, child care providers, early educators, and the care workforce, while advancing gender and racial equity.

header photo: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, President-elect Joe Biden’s choice to be secretary of Heath and Human Services, appears on a video link during a news conference at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware. Source: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images