Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius

Posted on by Karina

Today, Speaker Pelosi met with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The Speaker and Secretary Sebelius discussed health care reform and food safety among other issues of importance with Secretary Sebelius emphasizing that “a top priority of the President is a health care bill that will transform the system, keeping the health care that the American people enjoy and like but opening up a system for more than 50 million Americans who don't have access to quality, affordable care and we plan to lower costs that are crushing our businesses, crushing families and making health care out of reach for way too many Americans.”

Speaker Pelosi and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Secretary Sebelius also testified before the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies this afternoon. Watch video highlights:

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) asks about strengthening our food safety:

Rep. DeLauro:
“I was wondering what do you see as the most important goals and objectives (on food safety), how do you believe we ought to measure its success? You know where I stand on the issue of food safety functions, and taking them out of the FDA, in an agency that has its own commissioner and its own agency – is this an idea that you would be open to considering?”

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) on Dr. George Tiller and protecting health care professionals:

Rep. Lowey:
“Many of us were shocked and saddened by the horrific murder of Dr. George Tiller over the weekend…the Federal government must send a message that acts of violence against health care providers will not be tolerated. I was pleased to learn that Attorney General Holder has indicated that the US Marshall service will begin protecting certain abortion clinics and doctors, and this is a good first step. Today, the New York Times also called on Attorney General Holder to revitalize the National Task Force on Violence Against Health Care Providers, that was originally established in the 1990′s.”

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) on reducing the need for abortions:

Rep. Ryan:
“One issue that has come up a couple times is the issue of unplanned pregnancies and abortions. The President, and I watched with great interest his speech at Notre Dame, and I thought he articulated not only a framework for public discourse over the next few decades, but also a way of approaching these controversial issues that we truly want to find some common ground on. I know Chairman Obey and members of this committee have a large commitment towards reducing unplanned pregnancies and therefore reducing the need for abortions and supporting pregnant women…what is the Department doing to try to implement President Obama’s initiative…to reduce the need for abortions?”

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) on the importance of community health centers:

Rep. Jackson, Jr.:
“I’ve been a longstanding supporter of community health centers, because in my Congressional district, health centers provide access to affordable, high-quality, culturally competent care, to medically underserved individuals who might otherwise go without. I know that President Obama is well-acquainted with the central role health centers play as health care in Illinois and nationwide – indeed, the President recently stated, ‘Health centers’ primary care and prevention are at the heart of my plan for an affordable, accessible health care system.’ Do you agree that we must continue growth of this important program as we undertake comprehensive health reform?”
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