President-elect Joe Biden made an excellent selection in tapping California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Secretary of HHS oversees agencies that are critical to the health of the nation, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and – importantly for Medicare beneficiaries — the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Mr. Becerra is the right leader for HHS at this moment, not only for overseeing the response to the COVID pandemic, but also for protecting and building health care rights for Medicare beneficiaries, and for all Americans.
Mr. Becerra has been a champion of expanding access to health care, from his time in Congress on the Ways & Means committee and his co-sponsorship of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), to his current esteemed leadership in defending the ACA in court. As Attorney General of California he has been at the forefront challenging policies that harm the health of older adults and people with disabilities, such as the current administration’s expansion of the “public charge” rule. His demonstrated commitment to equity includes protecting women and LGBTQ+ individuals from unlawful discrimination in health care, and a recognition of the unequal effect that environmental damage has on the health of people of color and other communities.
The Center for Medicare Advocacy enthusiastically supports the nomination of Mr. Becerra. We look forward to working with him to protect and expand the Medicare program for all beneficiaries – and to advance access to quality insurance and health care for everyone.