ICYMI: Secretary Becerra Talks to NBC News About Latino Successes in His First Year as HHS Secretary
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra recently sat down with NBC News reporter Suzanne Gamboa to discuss the Department’s success in the Latino community, including protecting the community from COVID-19 by increasing uptake of vaccines and boosters and expanding health care coverage in the community by increasing enrollment in the Affordable Care Act insurance marketplaces.
Excerpts from the Interview:
"We continue to do work, whether it’s on Covid, whether it’s on helping people get insurance through the Affordable Care Act, whether it is taking care of migrant minor children along the border, we continue to do the work," Becerra said. "All the noise that’s out there doesn’t stop us from doing our work."
According to his staff, HHS provided $7.3 billion to 1,400 federally qualified health clinics that mainly serve Latino families to administer vaccines. The office said health centers nationally have administered nearly 15 million vaccines, with 67 percent going to racial and ethnic minorities.
"It is clear that we were able to make progress in getting all communities vaccinated in the year I've been here. It's principally been because the health centers have helped us to reach those who often are missed," Becerra said.
"Community health centers are the backbone of our public health system, and we are going to continue to work with them," Becerra said.
A Son of an Immigrant
Becerra is the son of an immigrant mother from Mexico and a U.S. citizen father who moved between the U.S. and Mexico. His father had worked in the fields and in road construction. His mother worked as a secretary. One of four children, Becerra was the first in his family to earn a bachelor’s degree.
“I grew up in a Latino home and I learned what it means to work hard from watching my parents. I learned what it means and not get very much,” Becerra said. “I want to lift up those families, we are a better country if we help those who ask very little but give very much.”