Tag Archives: president barack obama

Obama announces Office of Health Reform

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

President Barack Obama has, by executive order, established an Office of Health Reform in the White House, with a parallel Office of Health reform to be created in the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Office of Health Reform will operate as part of the White House executive office, and “provide leadership to the executive branch in establishing policies, priorities, and objectives for the Federal Government’s comprehensive effort to improve access to health care, the quality of such care, and the sustainability of the health care system.” The HHS office will coordinate closely with the White House office.

The new office will lead and coordinate the effort to provide “high-quality, affordable, and accessible health care and to slow the growth of health costs.” Staff will coordinate with the Domestic Policy Council, National Economic Council, Council of Economic Advisers, Office of Management and Budget, HHS, Office of Personnel Management, and other entities as needed.

The office also will work on public outreach, coordinate with state and local entities, present suggestions and ideas to the president, and monitor and advance the president’s health agenda.

In addition to those tasks, the newly created government entity and its director, liasons and subcommittees will “work with the Congress and executive departments and agencies to eliminate unnecessary legislative, regulatory, and other bureaucratic barriers that impede effective delivery of efficient and high-quality health care.”

Obama announces FDA officials, food safety plan

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

In his weekly address, President Barack Obama announced new FDA leadership and a new Food Safety Working Group in which the Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture work to organize food safety efforts across all levels of government.

There are certain things only a government can do. And one of those things is ensuring that the foods we eat, and the medicines we take, are safe and don’t cause us harm. That is the mission of our Food and Drug Administration and it is a mission shared by our Department of Agriculture, and a variety of other agencies and offices at just about every level of government.

The President called food-borne illness a “hazard to public health” and “unacceptable” and said new FDA officials would work with other agencies to prevent and contain outbreaks as part of the Food Safety Working Group.

This Working Group will bring together cabinet secretaries and senior officials to advise me on how we can upgrade our food safety laws for the 21st century; foster coordination throughout government; and ensure that we are not just designing laws that will keep the American people safe, but enforcing them. And I expect this group to report back to me with recommendations as soon as possible.

New FDA Commissioner: Dr. Margaret Hamburg

Experience: Nuclear Threat Initiative’s founding Vice President for the Biological Program; Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Commissioner of Health for the City of New York; Assistant Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.

New Principal Deputy Commissioner: Dr. Joshua Sharfstein

Experience: Baltimore Commissioner of Health; member of the Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice of the Institute of Medicine.

At the end of the address, President Obama also announced several specific policy changes.

As part of our commitment to public health, our Agriculture Department is closing a loophole in the system to ensure that diseased cows don’t find their way into the food supply. And we are also strengthening our food safety system and modernizing our labs with a billion dollar investment, a portion of which will go toward significantly increasing the number of food inspectors, helping ensure that the FDA has the staff and support they need to protect the food we eat.