In his first interview since he was announced as President-elect Joe Biden’s choice for health secretary, Xavier Becerra outlined plans to address health care disparities among Latinos and other underserved communities. During the POLITICO Live event, he also stated that he felt “cautiously optimistic” that Supreme Court justices deciding the fate of the Affordable Care Act would vote to preserve protections for people with pre-existing conditions, rather than overthrowing the entire law.
While serving as a member of Congress from 1993 to 2017, Mr. Becerra represented a poor, Latino-majority district in Los Angeles, California. He said he hoped to focus on building trust among hard-hit communities, increasing access to care in rural areas, and improving early and preventive care for chronic conditions such as diabetes. The prevalence of such diseases among Latinos is one reason this population has been disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I hope that what we can do is prove to folks, whether you’re Latino or not, if you’re in a poor part of the country, whether urban or rural, we’re going to reach you, because we need to because we have to keep America healthy, all of America,” Mr. Becerra said.