Michael O. Leavitt was sworn in as the 20th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on January 26, 2005. During his first year, he led efforts to enroll seniors and disabled persons in the new Medicare prescription drug benefit; mobilized the nation's pandemic preparedness; accelerated the development of health information standards; and oversaw the medical response to Hurricane Katrina. He also presided over changes in Medicaid statutes to give states flexibility to provide targeted insurance coverage to more people, and reauthorization by Congress, after 10 extensions, of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.
He is intensively focused on making health care more transparent in quality and price, and reducing the time and expense of bringing safe and effective drugs to market. Prior to his current service, Leavitt served as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and three-term Governor of Utah.