HHS Secretary checks on federal response to Flint Crisis

A member of President Obama's cabinet stopped by Flint on Thursday to check on the federal response to the ongoing water crisis.

- The head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services landed in Flint this week to check on the federal response to the ongoing water crisis and says more federal money could be on the way to help with medical costs.

Sylvia Burwell is the secretary of Health and Human Services, the highest federal office coordinating efforts in Flint.

"Our objective right now is the community and the problem," Burwell said. "I visited a site that's distributing filters as well as water. we talked to both the national guard and the fire dept. what are they hearing, what are they seeing."

The secretary toured the Hamilton community health network, a hospital providing medical treatment and education to the Flint community. The network, along with Gennesee Health System, received $500,000 of federal aid and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Giacalone, Jr., promised that the money would benefit only the people who needed it most.

"We will make sure that it is directly applied to the situation with the lead testing and the follow up that we're going to need within the community," Giacalone said.

That wasn't the secretary's only stop in Michigan; she also met with Governor Rick Snyder to discuss his request to expand Medicaid.

"We are going to be able to do some coverage expansions for pregnant women and children," Burwell said.

No specifics and no timeline. Yet the secretary said that there are at least 70 Federal workers in Flint at the moment.  And what about long-term funding from Congress? There seems to be some reluctance, according to Flint congressman Dan Kildee.

"There are lots of members of Congress I have spoken to who have expressed their sympathy but haven't allowed that sympathy be translated into direct support," Kildee said.

The Secretary didn't focus on the politics of money. Her focus was more about getting help to the people in Flint.

That's not all for Flint: The Michigan House approved a $30 million plan to help pay water bills for the people of Flint. That measure now goes to the Senate and Snyder is expected to sign the bill.


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