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HHS Secretary Sebelius on Free Preventative Healthcare: ‘If we succeed, we are on our way to a healthier nation’

Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP
Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP

During a meeting yesterday to announce new requirements to preventive healthcare coverage, first lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius outlined how patients will soon be able to get many preventive medical services at no cost.

The new rules are part of the Obama administration’s push to reduce healthcare costs and will require insurance companies to cover services like blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests, cancer screenings, routine vaccinations and well-baby visits.

“Unfortunately, too many Americans don’t get the preventive care they need to stay healthy and keep healthcare costs down for all of us,” Sebelius said during the conference at The George Washington University Hospital.

The new regulations are planned to go into effect Sept. 23.

She wrote in a White House blog, “Our challenge is to remove the obstacles between patients getting the preventive services that they need to stay healthy.”

She added, “If we fail in this challenge, we all pay the price. If we succeed — we are on our way to a healthier nation.”

The officials explained prevention is necessary to reduce serious illnesses and increase medical savings.

About 59 million adults and 11 million children depend on private health insurance that does not adequately cover immunizations and 12 percent of children have not visited a doctor in the last year,  Sebelius said.

Other medical prevention efforts will go into effect next year. Medicare patients will have access to free prevention services and annual wellness visits.

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