Kathleen Sebelius on Preventive Care and Healthcare Reform

Kathleen Sebelius, MPA


September 14, 2010

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Hi, I'm Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Healthcare is not just about treating the sick. It is also about helping healthy people stay healthy.

We know that patients trust their physicians for advice on healthy living and managing their chronic conditions. Your leadership in educating patients about the importance of preventive care, coupled with critical investments in community-based prevention efforts, can make an enormous impact and help countless Americans live healthier lives.

We're putting prevention to work by supporting initiatives that target tobacco control, obesity prevention, better nutrition, and physical activity. The Affordable Care Act creates a new Prevention and Public Health Fund to increase access to resources that promote prevention and public health and enhance healthcare quality in communities across the nation. And we're helping communities coordinate primary care services in mental health settings, supporting the First Lady's "Let's Move!" initiative and implementing recommendations of the President's Childhood Obesity Task Force.

Prevention is also about making sure that all Americans -- young and old -- can get the quality preventive care they need without facing burdensome cost-sharing requirements. Under the new law, health insurance will cover key tests -- like screenings for diabetes and various types of cancer -- as well as annual flu shots without copays or deductibles. Regular, affordable access to basic preventive services can go a long way to keeping Americans healthy.

Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes are responsible for 75% of the nation's healthcare spending and 7 out every of 10 deaths in America each year. Yet, as you know, they are often preventable. By working together to address tobacco use, poor diet, lack of exercise, and alcohol abuse, we can cut down on the incidence of these conditions.

And by giving you the support, flexibility, and time to make prevention a priority, we can give our nation a powerful opportunity to control spending, increase access, and stay healthy.


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