Friday, March 30, 2012

Secretary Sebelius off the cuff 3/12/12

Through the good graces and smart marketing of Capitol Hill Village officials (more about this organization another time), some 18 people could sit around in a sort of informal way with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last evening at the home of her former Trinity College roommate. Yes, chalk up another stellar achieving graduate of that DC institution (ie Nancy Pelosi - and the host herself, Peggy O'Brien, education consultant of note and 33-year Hill resident). What's to learn?
-The Secretary, no mean slouch in political life (former Democratic Governor of a Republican state and a business woman by training, not a lawyer though her husband is), likes and watches Jon Stewart's The Daily Show. Went on the show with advice 'don't try to be funny' and 'remember he likes the Mets.' Stephen Colbert,being 'faux,' is a different and more difficult encounter.
-She jogs/runs when she can, even in the dark before dawn in Central Park when in New York, and lives - coincidence? - near Results Gym on Capitol Hill.
-No trouble getting choice time with the Prez, whom she first met in Chicago in '04, endorsed him early, though full Cabinet meetings only take place every two months. Lots of subgroups.'
-Optimistic and philosophical about pending Supreme Court ruling on the administration's health care legislation.(But keep in mind the pressure to retain the Affordable Care Act, however indirectly delivered - that, as she says, Medicare reaches 49 million people, and is the largest insurance care program of its kind in the world.
- Her sprawling department represents 17 l/2 percent of the GDP with the Food and Drug Administration regulating 25 cents of consumer dollars.
On and on then, with a Q&A by members of Cap Hill Village who paid at a recent silent auction to have dinner 'with a mystery guest.' Public employes of rank can't legally advertise themselves on behalf of private non-profits - though there is no doubt she is also upbeat about the existence of Villages (a rapidly growing movement intended to help people 'age in place' and retain community ties) and her friend Peggy OBrien.


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