United States Secretary of Health and Human Services

The United States Secretary of Health and Human Services is the head of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, concerned with health matters. The Secretary is a member of the President's Cabinet. The office was formerly Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.

In 1980, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare was renamed the Department of Health and Human Services, and its education functions and Rehabilitation Services Administration were transferred to the new Department of Education.[2] Patricia Roberts Harris headed the department before and after it was renamed.[3]

Nominations to the office of Secretary of HHS are referred to the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid,[4] before confirmation is considered by the full United States Senate.

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act the role of the Secretary has been greatly expanded.[5][6]

Donald Trump selected then-Congressman Tom Price to be the 23rd Secretary of the Health and Human Services Department. Price was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 10, 2017 and resigned on September 29, 2017.[7] Trump then named Don J. Wright, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health and Director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, as acting Secretary until Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan was sworn in on October 10, 2017. On November 13, 2017, Trump nominated former pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar to fill the position permanently. Azar's confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee took place on January 9, 2018,[8] and on January 24, 2018, Azar was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 55 to 43.[9] Azar was sworn in on January 29, 2018.[10]

Secretary of Health and Human Services of the United States
Seal of the United States Department of Health and Human Services
Seal of the Department of Health and Human Services
Flag of the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services
Flag of the Secretary of Health and Human Services
Alex Azar official portrait (cropped)
Incumbent
Alex Azar

since January 29, 2018
United States Department of Health and Human Services
StyleMr. Secretary
Member ofCabinet
Reports toThe President
SeatWashington, D.C.
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent
Term lengthNo fixed term
Constituting instrumentReorganization Plan No. 1 of 1953
67 Stat. 631
42 U.S.C. § 3501
PrecursorSecretary of Health, Education, and Welfare
FormationAugust 3, 1979
First holderPatricia Roberts Harris
SuccessionTwelfth[1]
DeputyDeputy Secretary of Health and Human Services
SalaryExecutive Schedule, level 1
Websitewww.hhs.gov

Duties

Flag of the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare
The flag of the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, the predecessor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The duties of the secretary revolve around human conditions and concerns in the United States. This includes advising the president on matters of health, welfare, and income security programs. The Secretary strives to administer the Department of Health and Human Services to carry out approved programs and make the public aware of the objectives of the department.[11]

The Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) was reorganized into a Department of Education and a Department of Health and Human Services (US DHHS).

The Department of Health and Human Services oversees 11 agencies including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Disease Control (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).[12]

List of Secretaries of Health and Human Services

Parties

  Democratic (8)   Republican (15)   Independent (1)

Secretaries of Health, Education, and Welfare

No. Portrait Name State of residence Took office Left office President(s)
1 Hobby-Oveta-Culp Oveta Culp Hobby Texas April 11, 1953 July 31, 1955 Dwight D. Eisenhower
2 Folsom Marion B. Folsom New York August 2, 1955 July 31, 1958
3 ArthurSFlemming Arthur S. Flemming Ohio August 1, 1958 January 19, 1961
4 Ribicoff Abraham A. Ribicoff Connecticut January 21, 1961 July 13, 1962 John F. Kennedy
5 Celebrez Anthony J. Celebrezze Ohio July 31, 1962 August 17, 1965
Lyndon B. Johnson
6 John W. Gardner, U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare John W. Gardner California August 18, 1965 March 1, 1968
7 Wilburportrait Wilbur J. Cohen Michigan May 16, 1968 January 20, 1969
8 RobertHFinch Robert H. Finch California January 21, 1969 June 23, 1970 Richard Nixon
9 ElliotLeeRichardson Elliot L. Richardson Massachusetts June 24, 1970 January 29, 1973
10 Caspar Weinberger official photo Caspar W. Weinberger California February 12, 1973 August 8, 1975
Gerald Ford
11 F. David Mathews F. David Mathews Alabama August 8, 1975 January 20, 1977
12 JAC AR 2007 Joseph A. Califano Jr. District of Columbia January 25, 1977 August 3, 1979 Jimmy Carter
13 Patricia R. Harris Patricia Roberts Harris District of Columbia August 3, 1979 May 4, 1980[13]

Secretaries of Health and Human Services

No. Portrait Name State of Residence Took office Left office President(s)
13 Patricia R. Harris Patricia Roberts Harris District of Columbia May 4, 1980[13] January 20, 1981 Jimmy Carter
14 Secretary Richard Schweiker Richard S. Schweiker Pennsylvania January 22, 1981 February 3, 1983 Ronald Reagan
15 Mmheckler Margaret M. Heckler Massachusetts March 9, 1983 December 13, 1985
16 Otis R. Bowen Otis R. Bowen Indiana December 13, 1985 January 20, 1989
17 SullivanLouis Louis Wade Sullivan Georgia March 1, 1989 January 20, 1993 George H. W. Bush
18 Shalala portrait Donna Shalala Wisconsin January 22, 1993 January 20, 2001 Bill Clinton
19 Tommy Thompson 1 Tommy G. Thompson Wisconsin February 2, 2001 January 26, 2005 George W. Bush
20 Mike Leavitt Michael O. Leavitt Utah January 26, 2005 January 20, 2009
JohnsonCharlesE Charles E. Johnson Utah January 20, 2009 April 28, 2009 Barack Obama
21 Kathleen Sebelius official portrait (cropped) Kathleen Sebelius Kansas April 28, 2009 June 9, 2014
22 Sylvia Mathews Burwell official portrait (cropped) Sylvia Mathews Burwell District of Columbia June 9, 2014 January 20, 2017
Norris Cochran (cropped) Norris Cochran January 20, 2017 February 10, 2017 Donald Trump
23 Tom Price official photo (cropped) Tom Price Georgia February 10, 2017 September 29, 2017
Don J. Wright official portrait (cropped) Don J. Wright Virginia September 29, 2017 October 10, 2017
Eric D. Hargan official photo (cropped) Eric Hargan Illinois October 10, 2017 January 29, 2018
24 Alex Azar official portrait (cropped) Alex Azar Indiana January 29, 2018 Incumbent

Line of succession

The line of succession for the Secretary of Health and Human Services is as follows:[14]

  1. Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services.
  2. General Counsel of the Department of Health and Human Services
  3. Assistant Secretary for Administration
  4. Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
  5. Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  6. Commissioner of Food and Drugs
  7. Director of the National Institutes of Health
  8. Assistant Secretary for Children and Families
  9. Other Assistant Secretaries (following in the order they took the oath of office)
    1. Assistant Secretary for Health
    2. Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
    3. Assistant Secretary for Legislation
    4. Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs
    5. Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources
    6. Assistant Secretary for Aging
  10. Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  11. Director, Region 4 (Atlanta, Georgia)

Living former secretaries

Department of Health, Education, and Welfare

As of November 2018, there are two living former Secretaries of Health, Education and Welfare, the oldest being Joseph A. Califano Jr. (served 1977–1979, born 1931). The most recent Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare to die was Caspar Weinberger (served 1973–1975, born 1917), on March 28, 2006. The most recently serving Secretary to die was Patricia Roberts Harris (served 1979–1980, born 1924) on March 23, 1985.

Name Term Date of birth (and age)
F. David Mathews 1975–1977 December 6, 1935 (age 82)
Joseph A. Califano Jr. 1977–1979 May 15, 1931 (age 87)

Department of Health and Human Services

Panel for United States Secretaries of Health and Human Services at Spotlight Health Aspen Ideas Festival 2015
A gathering of five secretaries in June 2015

As of November 2018, there are seven living former Secretaries of Health and Human Services, the oldest being Louis W. Sullivan (served 1989–1993, born 1933); The most recent Secretary of Health and Human Services to die was Margaret Heckler (served 1983–1985, born 1931), on August 6, 2018. The most recently serving Secretary to die was Otis R. Bowen (served 1985–1988, born 1918) on May 4, 2013.

Name Term Date of birth (and age)
Louis W. Sullivan 1989–1993 November 3, 1933 (age 85)
Donna Shalala 1993–2001 February 14, 1941 (age 77)
Tommy Thompson 2001–2005 November 19, 1941 (age 76)
Mike Leavitt 2005–2009 February 11, 1951 (age 67)
Kathleen Sebelius 2009–2014 May 15, 1948 (age 70)
Sylvia Mathews Burwell 2014–2017 June 23, 1965 (age 53)
Tom Price 2017 October 8, 1954 (age 64)

References

  1. ^ "3 U.S. Code § 19 - Vacancy in offices of both President and Vice President; officers eligible to act". LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  2. ^ Holbrook, M. Cay (February 6, 2017). Foundations of Education: History and theory of teaching children and youths with visual impairments. American Foundation for the Blind. ISBN 9780891283409.
  3. ^ "Patricia R. Harris (1977–1979)—Miller Center". millercenter.org. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  4. ^ "Jurisdiction | The United States Senate Committee on Finance". www.finance.senate.gov. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  5. ^ "Ropes & Gray LLP: Alerts". www.ropesgray.com. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  6. ^ Leavitt, Michael O. (February 18, 2011). "Health reform's central flaw: Too much power in one office". The Washington Post.
  7. ^ Baker, Peter; Thrush, Glenn; Haberman, Maggie (September 29, 2017). "Health Secretary Tom Price Resigns After Drawing Ire for Chartered Flights". The New York Times. New York. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  8. ^ Goldstein, Amy; Eilperin, Juliet (January 9, 2018). "Senate Finance Committee evaluates Alex Azar to be the next HHS secretary". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  9. ^ Pear, Robert (January 24, 2018). "Senate Confirms Trump Nominee Alex Azar as Health Secretary". The New York Times. New York. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  10. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/alex-azar-sworn-in-as-secretary-of-health-and-human-services/2018/01/29/8257006e-0514-11e8-aa61-f3391373867e_story.html
  11. ^ "The President's Cabinet". Ben's Guide. February 1, 2007. Retrieved November 15, 2007.
  12. ^ "HHS Agencies & Offices | HHS.gov". Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  13. ^ a b Harris was Secretary on May 4, 1980, when the office changed names from Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare to Secretary of Health and Human Services. Because the department merely changed names, she did not need to be confirmed again, and her term continued uninterrupted.
  14. ^ "Providing an Order of Succession Within the Department of Health and Human Services". Federal Register. February 20, 2008. Retrieved October 30, 2016.

External links

Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Alex Acosta
as Secretary of Labor
Order of Precedence of the United States
as Secretary of Health and Human Services
Succeeded by
Ben Carson
as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Current U.S. presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Secretary of Labor
Alex Acosta
12th in line Succeeded by
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Ben Carson

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