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tv   HHS Secretary Speaks at Health Action Conference  CSPAN  January 28, 2022 8:20am-8:31am EST

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haven, connecticut. >> debbie applegate on this episode booknotes+. booknotes+ is available on the c-span now at or what have you get your podcasts. >> looking for c-span and essentials i will keep you warm? go to c-spanshop.org come c-span's online store. save up to 20% on her latest collection c-span sweatshirts, hoodies, blankets and more. there's something for every c-span fan, and every purchase helps support our nonprofit operations. shop tuesday through monday during the c-span shops keep warm sale at c-spanshop.org. >> now health and human services secretary xavier becerra on steps the biden administration is taking to address health care challenges that were exposed by the covid-19 pandemic. he spoke any healthcare conference hosted by families
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u.s.a. >> and, of course, we are thrilled to have you alongside us. indulging saying a little more about your amazing record. you have been a longtime friend, al and champion and submit for partners that are here today. you've had the privilege of working with you as a member of congress, as an attorney general of california, to pass implement and defend affordable care act. when as helping more than decade ago i member several trips across the rotunda to meet with you or your senior staff, and you truly were here for so many of us. as age of california you weren't one of the most active, use the power of attorney general to take on healthcare industry abuses. most notably the price gouging by -- now i secretary of hhs you have been so busy already fighting hard to lever the powers come for example, couple
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days ago you announced a really important in agency effort and millions of dollars to support reproductive rights as we watched roe v. wade. you also held the distinction of being our last in person health action conference speaker pursued by president obama and speaker pelosi, president clinton, senator warren, stacey abrams and on and on. you were taught in person about grid, guts and came in your discussion about the comforts of the unfairness and the terrible impact of healthcare monopolies are as true today as they were then. where such fans and were very excited to be working with you know as the key member of president biden's cabinet. secretary becerra, let's start with, how are you? how is your return to our nation's capital? how is it all going? >> frederick, if i can get kind of introduction it where i went i would be really good every day. maybe it's you knew that today's my birthday so you decide to be especially nice, but it is a treat. this is part of my gift to be
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able to be with all the votes and families u.s.a. can. it's a thrill to you, to actually everybody on the team, families u.s.a. team. thank you for everything to do. for her story, for her grid, and her guts. thank you. that's what we need and that's what we got no surprises, that's what will make sure we implemented right. i have to say we're going to get these things done, i think serving the army we need to make it happen. >> you better believe it. i've got to wish you the happiest of birthdays. it's just come what a fantastic moment to wish you happy birthday. when you think back on the session what are you most proud of so far? >> how we are so resilient as a country, certainly our healthcare workers, certainly all the so-called essential workers that were not being treated well because they were low-paid here to every american who took the advice of the experts, the scientists who believe these vaccines could work, to everyone who's been
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doing all the things to take all the precautions. we are a country that seems to be somewhat divided but with 250 million americans, get a dose of the vaccine to more than 210 million of them getting two doses and millions were getting the booster, we are coming together. i feel good about helping the part of that team to get it done. >> absolutely, and the millions and millions of lives that we saved together in our work together. the other side of the coin is difficult lessons we learned through the pandemic particularly the inequities in our communities and that dramatically impact the health of families across the country. you and i are both latin acts, first-generation, you on your mom's side, knee, both my and watched the impact on her family, our community. president biden, you both want racial justice and better diverse representation. the theme of this conference is health, justice now.
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what do you see as the most important opportunities in the year had to make improvements in racial justice and health equity and how do we move? >> in a in a way we have ided can we finally have been able to uncover where some of those gaps in our healthcare system, public health system. why? no one can deny that are healthcare system was too porous. covid exposed that. now that we know another window where some of those gaps are, it's on us to go out there and close of those gaps. that's what we've done. when i came into office less than a year ago i think it may i got reports the number of americans who are receiving vaccine, white americans at a think at that point in the had received two out of every three every white american received one shot of one of the vaccines. african-americans just a little over half, about 54%. latino americans about 55%.
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we got to work because those are the gaps and today at least as of the end of december the latest numbers that we got, 83%% of white americans have received at least one shot, 82% of african americans now have received at least one shot, and latinos 84% 84% have receive shot. we went out and hustle. it was not easy, , no accident. that's the stuff we need to do because we can see with a gaps are and it's on us to make sure we reach out to everyone but where they are instead of waiting for them to come to us. >> beautifully said. those numbers have we moved from very stark inequities to 82% of white americans, 82% of african americans and 84% of latinos, that's really powerful. we have big program and we take pride in that outcome as well. another issue that it really near and dear to our hearts, and as i mentioned a few minutes ago you are no stranger to take on healthcare pricing abuses and
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the lack of competition and healthcare markets. as attorney general, naïve and working application no surprises act to protect families from surprise medical bills. can you talk about what you see the greatest need for additional policy change to rein in healthcare costs, , improve the value of care and create healthier competition across the healthcare sector? >> i don't think there's any question, drug pricing. what we pay in america to get access to medicines which in some cases cost less abroad than to do here at home even though they may be invented or manufactured here in this country. and so without a doubt, because it take such a big bite out of it everyone's pocketbook, pricing. we should not have to pay more than anyone else in the world, especially when there are drugs that we created, established here. what i do think we have to do is
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recognize while we can make this happen, it doesn't happen overnight. our system is a patchwork on healthcare and it makes it difficult to come up, come out within it streamlined approach but without a doubt there is no reason why we should be paying thousands of dollars for drugs that other countries are paying a fraction to get. >> beautifully said. every day -- companies make a lot of money by just charging outrageous prices is another day we don't get the innovation that we want. we are rewarding smart lawyers, not smart new drugs and we have to change that. we are with you 100%. another issue that's a really big deal are so many of us is maternal and child health. and so many different parts of your department have different authorities about this issue. what we sure we know about how to improve the silly turbo problem we have with maternal outcomes and just sort to improve the well-being of children in our nation?
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>> well, what americans should know is that we talk the talk but don't walk our talk when it comes to maternal health. it is incredible to believe in the wealthiest country in the world with the most sophisticated healthcare anywhere that with some of the worst maternal morbidity and mortality outcomes that you can see in, not just the industrial -- industrialized world but even in developing countries. we rate lower than so many countries in the world when it comes to the outcomes for women and for their babies when it comes to birth. it's incredible. i say this not just as someone who has the opportunity to lead hhs, i say this as the spouse of a maternal-fetal medicine expert who has been practicing as a -- for over i think over 30 years, or twentysomething years. i shouldn't add more years to her age. she's been an expert in this and
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she's talked to me about this for the longest time, how we could actually not only save babies and save mom's but have them be healthy or both. that's one of the reasons why at hhs we're investing millions now to tackle this maternal morbidity and mortality crisis that we face. it's most acute in the african-american and native american communities and that's why we're moving forward, , tryo make sure every state offers through medicaid a woman 12 months at postpartum care instead of just 60 days. that's going to be important we hope more states take us up on that. >> so important. i think when i have spoken to folks run the country i think most americans don't realize we don't have 12 months of maternity care for them on right after she is delivered. it's such a common sense, such an important policy and it's a great example of the reform we can get going with right away. it's good to know that at home

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