Statement from Marcela Howell, president and CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s…
WASHINGTON — President-elect Biden announced that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is his appointee to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Marcela Howell, president and CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, issued the following statement in support of Becerra’s appointment:
“We applaud the appointment of Xavier Becerra as secretary of Health and Human Services. As a member of Congress, he was integral in the fight to pass the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that provided health care coverage for 20 million people. During his tenure as California’s attorney general, he notably worked to combat Trump administration attacks on public health, suing HHS when the agency threatened to withhold federal funding from California if the state did not remove its requirement that private health insurance plans include abortion coverage. Becerra has a track record of working to defend the ACA. He both understands the disparate impact of attacks on health care access and takes action to remedy those disparities.
“Black women and other women of color have suffered the most from Trump’s public health policies because they exacerbated the systemic barriers to accessing health care — especially reproductive health services — that we already faced. Xavier Becerra will work to remove hurdles and promote policies that offer relief from the racial and economic biases within the healthcare industry that is killing us.
“In Our Own Voice supports President-elect Biden’s selection of Becerra to lead HHS. As we head into, perhaps, the most dangerous days of the COVID pandemic, we need a leader, like Becerra, who is committed to ensuring that all people have access to the health care they need, regardless of income, geography or insurance coverage.
And finally, Black women, who were critical supporters of the Biden-Harris ticket, call on President-elect Biden to appoint more Black women experts to his cabinet and to other high-level administration positions.”