A Controversial Nominee for Some, Biden’s HHS Pick Offers a Promising Path Forward for All Americans
COMMENTARY

December 11, 2020 by Mary Sanchez
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has been nominated to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Because bible-pounding has become a favored tactic of politicians, it was only a matter of time before one of the cabinet choices of the incoming Biden administration would set off screeds of fire and brimstone.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has become the target.

Becerra has been nominated to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services, a crucial role not only because of the pandemic, but because president-elect Joe Biden will be focused on preserving and hopefully improving Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act.

Becerra, a Catholic, faces the gauntlet of the finger-pointers, those who question another’s sanctity, the fitness of their soul.

It’s due to abortion, Becerra’s role in defending Obamacare and his support for the original exemptions it offered to religious non-profits regarding mandates to provide coverage for contraception, versus the far broader ones demanded in lawsuits.

The Federalist headline on the pick: “Declaring War on Nuns, Biden to Nominate Becerra for HHS Secretary.”

That’s a nod to the lawsuit Becerra participated in involving the Little Sisters of the Poor, which was among the nonprofits that challenged the Obama administration and won in court.

The Washington Examiner lead with “Xavier Becerra for HHS Means Biden is Dead Serious About Sticking It to Religious Freedom.”

Others called him “aggressively pro-abortion.”

Upon the announcement, Becerra tweeted:

“In Congress, I helped pass the Affordable Care Act. As California’s Attorney General, I defended it. As Secretary of Health and Human Services, I will build on our progress and ensure every American has access to quality, affordable health care – through this pandemic and beyond.”

The point at the end of the statement drew some better angels to stand up on Becerra’s behalf.

Catholic Health Association issued their support, in statements and in follow-up comments.

CHA noted that Becerra “has been a strong partner with CHA in defending the Affordable Care Act and for advocating for greater access to quality, affordable health care coverage for everyone, particularly the most vulnerable.”

Given the massive imprint of Catholicism on health care in America, the statement is noteworthy. One in every seven U.S. patients is cared for in a Catholic hospital, according to the Association.

Sr. Mary Haddad, RSM, President and CEO of the Association defined the support for Becerra to the National Catholic Reporter saying, “There have been so many political battles over the course of the past four years that we really have not advanced much in the area of health care. We know that no individual will have all of the same policy positions that we might have, but we have to find common ground.”

She’s right.

COVID-19 has morbidly showcased the flaws of our current health care systems, in particular lower income people’s lack of access. African Americans and Latinos are disproportionately dying.

We need to fight for healthcare, for the nation as a whole, even if that means setting aside personal beliefs.

Raised Roman Catholic, I was influenced by my mother who struggled with multiple miscarriages and came to Catholicism through her marriage to my father. As she aged, began to intelligently analyze the faith’s practical and impractical impact on families.

She knew that some were highly stressed financially and emotionally by having large families. There were also the medical risks of repeated pregnancies, particularly if the births came later in the life of the mother. She failed to see how preventing a pregnancy through contraception was anywhere near the same as ending a life by abortion.

I believe this as well.

The majority of Catholics in the nation, as evidenced in repeated polling by many different entities, share similar beliefs. Is this the often-mentioned cafeteria Catholic in action?

Absolutely, it is choosing which of the faith’s many rules coincide with personal feelings.

But my mother also revered the work of Little Sisters of the Poor and wanted any donations to charity upon her death to be received by them, a request that was granted.

To some, that might seem a contradiction. I think it’s honoring sacred work.

It’s in that spirit and the hope for a healthier and more co-existing United States that the support for Becerra’s nomination is well-placed.


©2020 Mary Sanchez. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Opinions

Politics and Governing Should Be Boring
Opinions
Politics and Governing Should Be Boring

A lot of my friends on both sides of the aisle are eloquently touching on the meaning of Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol, so I’m going to try and cover things I’m not seeing in the news but that should be considered. First, when the president and... Read More

So What Now?
Opinions
So What Now?
January 10, 2021
by Leonard Pitts

So what now? A few things, actually. But before we get to them, we must recognize last week’s insurrectionist rampage at the Capitol for what it was. It is being seen, and not wrongly, as the angry response of delusional right-wingers lied into believing a presidential... Read More

Seditious Members of Congress Must Be Held Accountable
Opinions
Seditious Members of Congress Must Be Held Accountable
January 4, 2021
by Robert B. Reich

I’ve been in or around politics for over a half-century now, and I never imagined how low and loony the Republican Party would become. Twelve Republican senators say they will object to President-elect Joe Biden’s victory on Wednesday when Congress meets to formally certify it. They... Read More

I Miss Going to the Movies
Opinions
I Miss Going to the Movies
December 30, 2020
by John Kass

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need,” said Marcus Tullius Cicero. Old Marcus could have been talking about coping with these pandemic lockdowns, but he wasn’t. Happily, I have a home library, but no garden. And I can’t possibly go... Read More

Georgia's Long History of Voter Suppression
Opinions
Georgia's Long History of Voter Suppression

Now that Donald Trump's baseless lies about voter fraud have been summarily dismissed by the courts, perhaps some attention can be paid to the true threat to free and fair elections: not voter fraud but systemic and massive voter suppression. Voter suppression, not voter fraud, could... Read More

Trump’s Presidency Has Tested the Broken Windows Theory
Opinions
Trump’s Presidency Has Tested the Broken Windows Theory
December 28, 2020
by Robert B. Reich

Most of the 74.2 million Americans who voted to reelect Donald Trump — 46.8 percent of the votes cast in the 2020 presidential election — don’t hold Trump accountable for what he’s done to America. Their acceptance of Trump’s behavior will be his vilest legacy. Nearly... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top