Verify Xavier Becerra as Well being and Human Providers secretary now

As our nation faces a global pandemic, we need a strong Secretary for Health and Human Services who understands our health system not only from a political perspective but also on a deeply personal level. The secretary of health and human services should be as comfortable speaking to the director of NIH as he is a nurse in East LA or a senior at Medicare in my home state of Tennessee. This is Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Health Care: Biden Aims to Provide Billions in Emergency Funding to Global Vaccine Initiative Conservative Groups Trying to Increase Opposition to Biden’s HHS Election HHS Votes to Hear Senate Next Week | Average daily new coronavirus cases fall below 90,000 MORE and therefore he is now the right person to be the Secretary for Health and Human Services.

The running of the Department of Health and Human Services is daunting even when things are going well. I know because I saw it up close. As administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and later director of the White House Office of Health Reform and Deputy Chief of Staff of the White House, I worked both within and within the department and knew its incredible power to serve the American people.

This work often brought me to Capitol Hill. While President Obama kindly gave me a White House office, he should have given me running shoes to get around on Capitol Hill. As the head of government efforts to get the Affordable Care Bill passed, I met with hundreds of Congressmen who commuted from office to office to discuss President Obama’s health policies and goals.

Some meetings were better than others.

I had extensive discussions about the cost of health care or what we had to do to get Medicare and protect it. In a few meetings I had to describe the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. Some members – on both sides of the aisle – had little interest in facts or science and focused only on the day’s political struggle.

Xavier Becerra was different. During his tenure in Congress, he was a principled lawmaker who had a deep understanding of the political issues discussed in Washington and their relationship with the people of California he was supposed to represent. He listened to everyone – be it a hospital administrator, a health plan officer, a doctor or a nurse, or an uninsured, low-income immigrant – who thought about how health care could be improved. If you had a good idea, no matter who you were or where you came from, he wanted to hear it.

Just listening is rare in Washington, but Xavier would listen and then get to work and get things done.

Xavier Becerra is a son of Mexican immigrants whose father made a living building and building roads. He knows how important it is for all families to have access to quality health care. He earned two Stanford degrees since childhood in a one-bedroom home and was one of the first members of Congress to endorse the Family and Medical Leave Act. He represented one of the most diverse counties in the House of Representatives – a part of Los Angeles with voters who spoke more than two hundred languages ​​- and fought to narrow the gaps and improve health outcomes for people in color communities. At home in California, he met seniors who, even with Medicare’s help, were struggling to pay their bills. In Washington, he helped pass laws to give them additional support.

As we worked to pass the Affordable Care Act, Xavier offered the kind of shrewd, steadfast leadership that the noise of overheated debate often lacked. He listened to the facts, looked for similarities, and stood up for the children, families, and seniors who needed help. He understood the details of the legislation and the difference it would make in people’s lives. And he wasn’t just fighting to create the Affordable Care Act. As California’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra led the country’s attorneys general in the fight to protect and defend the law and its life-saving access to health insurance and protection for Americans with pre-existing conditions.

The COVID crisis is almost unimaginably complex. The Department of Health and Human Services needs a leader who can understand these complexities and the stakes for all Americans. However, it is just as important that the department be headed by someone who can speak clearly to the American people. One to count on to tell us what we know about the virus, what we don’t know, and what we can all do together to defeat it and protect public health. Xavier Becerra is that leader. We need him today – delay could cost us more lives. The Senate should now approve it.

DeParle was director of the Health Care Finance Administration, now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, during the Clinton administration, and director of the White House Office of Health Reform during the Obama administration.

Comments are closed.