Department of Health and Human Services
October 18, 2012
The Department of Health and Human Services, also referred to as the Health Department, is the United States federal department and principal agency for protecting the health and welfare of all Americans; created in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officially opened on 4 May 1980 after it was removed from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW). Attached were four major operating agencies of HHS: the Office of Human Development Services, the Public Health Service, HCFA, and the Social Security Administration (SSA). The major events during the 1980s at HHS concerned health care finance. A former U.S. Senator, Richard Schweiker, was appointed secretary of HHS by President Ronald Regan. He worked on changing the way in which the federal government reimbursed hospitals under Medicare from retrospective, or payment after the fact based on cost, to perspective, or payment in advance based on the diagnosis of the person as treated.
In the early 1990s President William Clinton made welfare reform and health insurance his two priorities in the HHS realm. He failed in 1993 to get his health insurance proposals through Congress, despite a major publicity campaign help from his HHS secretary and former university president Donna Shalala. Therefore, he went with his initiative to end welfare as an open-ended entitlement and to substitute a program that left more discretion to the states than previously and made a job, rather than an income maintenance grant, the main objective of the welfare program. On the 31 March 1995, the SSA decided to become an independent entity and the HHS lost one of its major operating agencies. The department of SSA left the Public Health Service as the largest operating division of the department. Its major...