FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks on National Public Health Week

Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, urged the nation on Monday to continue to advance the public's health as we celebrate National Public Health Week.

In an HHS statement, Sebelius said she believes the nation's public heath affects and connects us all, and that institutions like the Department of Health and Human Services protect public health in many ways, from tobacco control and vaccinations to preventive care and wellness. The HHS helps make health care more accessible to all Americans.

The Affordable Care Act was enacted three years ago and brought in sweeping changes to the health care industry. "This year's theme, 'Public Health is ROI; Save Lives, Save Money,' is consistent with the Affordable Care Act's focus on preventing illness and keeping people healthy," Sebelius said.

Sebelius said that Americans have stronger, more reliable health care because of the act, and this helps them stay or get healthy. Because of the changes in health care law, 71 million Americans with private insurance have expanded coverage, and starting on January 1, 2014, millions more with have access to health insurance.

"The health care law is also investing in public health strategies to improve the nation's health by promoting wellness, preventing disease, and protecting against public health emergencies," Sebelius said. "States and communities are using Prevention and Public Health Fund dollars to help control the obesity epidemic, reduce chronic disease risk factors, and increase public health programs' effectiveness and efficiency."

"Please join me in recognizing the role of our public health leaders in communities around the country who are working tirelessly to help improve the nation's public health," Sebelius said.