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Senate Confirms Secretary Becerra, First Latino Secretary of HHS

Senate Confirms Secretary Becerra, First Latino Secretary of HHS

(Washington, DC) — Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Secretary Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in a 50-49 vote. Secretary Becerra previously served as the Attorney General of the State of California, where he led several lawsuits challenging the previous administration’s policies that undermined the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. Prior to serving as California’s AG, Secretary Becerra served on the Ways and Means committee in the House of Representatives and was influential in shepherding the Affordable Care Act through Congress.

In response Erin Hemlin, Health Policy and Advocacy Director for Young Invincibles issued the following statement:

“We applaud the confirmation of Xavier Becerra as Secretary of HHS. He has been a lifelong advocate for access to health coverage for the most vulnerable populations – including young people. His leadership at HHS will help expand access and coverage for young adults, address inequities in our health care system, and will be critically important in facing the monumental task of combatting the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has had an outsized impact on young Black and brown adults, and HHS will be well-served by a Secretary who understands the racial and ethnic disparities that have led to an inequitable health care system, and will fight to eliminate these disparities each and every day.

Over a decade ago, we worked with the Obama Administration to deliver on the promise of quality, affordable health coverage for all young adults, cutting the uninsured rate for 18-34-year-olds in half. Since then, we’ve continued to fight to make that promise a reality for all young people across the nation. Now more than ever, we need bold leadership that prioritizes universal coverage for all, eliminating health disparities, and treating mental health care as the essential health care service that it is, not a bonus. Secretary Becerra is uniquely suited to achieve these lofty goals, and we look forward to working with him to do so in his new role at HHS.”