Kathleen Sebelius on “What the Health? Why It Matters to All of Us”

Kathleen Sebelius' seminars will be held on Tuesdays 10/10, 10/31, 11/7, and 11/21 at 12:30pm.
Lunch will be provided.

All IOP Pritzker Fellows Seminars will be held in the IOP Living Room unless otherwise noted. 
All seminars are students only and closed to press/off the record.


Mahatma Gandhi said, “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold or silver.” And over 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared, “Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

As Americans, we spend more on health care than any other nation on earth, our health outcomes are mediocre at best, and we are the only developed country without some form of universal health care.

This seminar will explore four unique health topics, and we will discuss the policies, politics, economics and personal impact of decisions made about health in the United States. Guests will include former national and local officials and providers who have unique perspectives and expertise on the subjects.

Session 1 (October 10): Drugs in America: Innovation, Regulation, and Expense | RSVP

This session will explore the role the United States plays in bringing innovative, life-saving drugs to market; the critical balance between speed and consumer protection in testing/regulating drug approval; and why American consumers pay the highest prices for all drugs, even those developed in the United States. This discussion will look at ways the current system can be improved and what is essential to protect consumers and give patients access to life-saving remedies.

Special Guest: Margaret Hamburg, MD, Foreign Secretary for the National Academy of Medicine, former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

Session 2 (October 31): Medicaid Matters to Everyone | RSVP

This session will look at the impact on our country from Medicaid, the largest insurance program in America, covering 74 million people. Medicaid represents the biggest annual transfer of funds from the federal treasury to state budgets and is a 52-year-old state/federal partnership that has served as the health safety net in this country. The Republican majority in Congress is seeking to dramatically cut Medicaid, impacting millions of beneficiaries and every state budget in America.

Special Guest: Tom Fisher, MD, MPH, President of Next Level Health, emergency room doctor and former White House Fellow

Session 3 (November 7): Early Childhood Investments Pay Big Dividends | RSVP

This session will look at the collaboration between the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education to develop an opportunity for every child in America to acquire the social, emotional and education tools to enter school ready to learn and succeed. The investments made prior to age 3 are critical, and long-term studies show that quality health and early learning programs can make a lifetime of difference. Some progress has been made, but the United States is way behind other industrialized countries in getting all of our children launched with a healthy start.

Special Guest: Arne Duncan, Managing Partner of the Emerson Collective, former Secretary of Education and former CEO of the Chicago Public Schools

Session 4 (November 21): Health Reform Now & Then | RSVP

This session will look the Affordable Care Act, from a campaign proposal by President Obama to the first comprehensive health reform law enacted in America in over 50 years. We will discuss the politics and economics of the health law, who was helped and hurt, and what has been proposed (or perhaps passed) to roll back and replace this framework that has moved America a lot closer to universal health coverage.

Special Guest: David Axelrod, Director of the Institute of Politics