- Jennifer Weber
Response, Recovery, Reinvestment – A Recipe for the New Era of Health Policy
This week, the Senate holds nomination hearings for President Biden’s nominee to be the Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Honorable Xavier Becerra. This is an important nominee to an essential position at a crucial time. The United States passed 500,000 deaths related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a somber milestone met with the National Cathedral ringing its bells 500 times. Restoring confidence in our health system starts with this Department and its leadership. Mr. Becerra has the administrative and legislative experience to assume this position from his tenure in Congress as a member of the Ways and Means Committee to his leadership as Attorney General of California.
If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Becerra will usher in new era of health policy. This era will not be solely defined by the seesaw battle of the past decade between strengthening and weakening the Affordable Care Act, although this legislation will remain foundational to Mr. Becerra’s efforts. HHS faces more than implementing this law soon to hit its 11th year. It faces challenges that have been exposed and exacerbated by the on-going pandemic.
We believe that Mr. Becerra’s priorities are a clear recipe to address current health priorities and put the US on the path to healthier individuals and communities, and ultimately a healthier nation.
Response. Building and sustaining a more nimble and capable public health infrastructure and system and a rapid response approach to current and future health threats. Our fragmented and fracture health system did not adequately meet the needs of our society. A strong public health infrastructure is not a luxury, it is a necessity.
Recovery. Focusing on health services such as prevention to ensure we have reduced health disparities and conditions that make certain populations and individuals more vulnerable and susceptible to the current and emerging pandemics. A focus on rehabilitation and physical therapy to address the comorbidities and complications from the pandemic.
Reinvestment. Commitment to greater support and systems for childcare/early care and education (ECE) and schools. ECE and schools are foundational to education and health services and in the US create one of the only systems to apply population health initiatives at scale. In addition to quality education for all, our public schools and early care and education provide essential family support to ensure a working economy.
As the nomination hearing progresses this week, we agree with the Commonwealth Fund’s four areas that Senators should focus on in their questions:
addressing the general inequity of our health system,
providing health insurance coverage for 30 million uninsured Americans,
preparing for future health disasters, and
making health care more affordable.
Weber Moore Partners is committed to the promotion of better health through programs, policies and strategic priorities for individuals, schools, workplaces, and communities. We bring together all components of an issue – policy, program, and community – to drive effective and lasting results. We stand to partner with programs and organizations to make a difference in the health of their community.