As a nun who has led one of the largest national Catholic health care organizations in the country, I know that no other federal agency works as hard to protect and advance the health and well-being of families as the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
This is why I was relieved and delighted when President Joe Biden announced in December his intention to appoint California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a leader whose character is rooted in his Catholic education and values, as secretary for health and social services. I know he is the right person to run the agency right now, as he showed during his confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
Last month, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Told the Senate that Becerra’s healthcare experience was limited to suing those “who dare to live up to their religious beliefs” – a benchmark involving Becerra’s office, as well as officials from other states, in legal proceedings to defend the women’s health provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
Skeptics like McConnell, primarily motivated by this issue, seem to think Becerra lacks family values that are inherently Catholic – but I know much better. Becerra comes from a long tradition of faith and values integrity, hard work and treating everyone with dignity and respect. He has dedicated his life to public service and to improving the lives of the families he serves.
Xavier Becerra’s Catholic faith underpins his commitment to ensure that every family has both dignity and access to health care.
As our country continues to fight a deadly pandemic, we need its leadership in the Department of Health and Social Services more than ever.
Becerra has a deep understanding of the ins and outs of the healthcare system – knowledge hard-earned during her decades in public service. His work on drafting, enacting, and protecting the Affordable Care Act is proof of his health policy experience and commitment to providing Americans with the health care they need. This experience is invaluable and makes him a unique candidate to serve as secretary of health and social services.
I have long advocated for health care reform, including the Affordable Care Act that Becerra helped develop. I remember being in a meeting with him when he was representing California in Congress. I was moved by his commitment to providing people with health care coverage regardless of their circumstances. He knew everyone deserved health care and made sure no one was left behind when he drafted the bill.
When he later became Attorney General of California, he worked hard to defend the law against efforts to eliminate it or minimize its impact on everyone it helped, all following challenges. judicial unfounded.
Becerra comes from a long tradition of faith and values integrity, hard work and treating everyone with dignity and respect.
Xavier Becerra’s Catholic faith underpins his commitment to ensure that every family has both dignity and access to health care. Both are particularly important during the coronavirus pandemic, which has exposed some of the worst inequalities in our healthcare system. Communities of color are experiencing the worst of Covid-19, including disproportionately higher infection rates, more severe cases, higher death rates and less access to vaccinations. Becerra is committed to ending these inequalities in Covid-19 care and pursuing a fairer health care system for all Americans in the long term.
So many Americans are facing health challenges related to this public health crisis, which is why we need a leader at HHS who understands the importance of access to care for all.
Due to her parents’ immigration experience, Becerra has seen in her own life the challenges families face at all income levels. His parents instilled in him not only his strong faith, but also the importance of hard work and the dignity of all humans created in the image of God.
I believe this experience informed her belief that everyone deserves health care.
Becerra has long said that he was driven by the belief that everyone who works hard in our country deserves an opportunity to grow, including being able to send their children to college and retire with dignity. It is both a Catholic value and an American value; protecting this value starts with protecting the health of our loved ones.
We need a secretary in the Department of Health and Social Services who knows that everyone deserves access to health care – period. Xavier Becerra’s decades of experience, his strong tradition of faith and his life of public service make him the ideal person to lead our country through this catastrophe and ensure a healthy future for all Americans. He is a highly qualified candidate who knows what is at stake in this country, and the Senate should ignore these false attacks on his character and act quickly to confirm it.