- The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is simply part of the fabric of America, says Sylvia M. Burwell, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), during a White House press call mere hours after the monumental King v. Burwell decision from the Supreme Court was announced Thursday. Burwell’s comments are in direct tandem with her earlier statement released Thursday morning, among those of many others, about King v. Burwell's assessment of whether or not federal premium subsidies issued to residents in states without a state-established exchange are allowable.
“Over 6 million Americans and their families will sleep easier knowing they will still be able to afford health coverage. Millions more won’t have to worry about an upward premium spiral, even if they didn’t buy their insurance through the Marketplace,” states Burwell, confirming the overall decision as “positive.”
Considering those states that currently choose not to accept additional federal funds, Burwell says in regard to Medicaid and Medicaid expansion, different states have different needs. Within the state of Kentucky, by 2021, Medicaid expansion will allow $30B to flow into the state’s funding and budget system, says Burwell. “We think it’s an important thing for states,” she claims.
“We’ve seen a historic reduction in the uninsured and over 16 million more people now have coverage. The price of healthcare has risen at the slowest rate in 50 years,” she maintains.
Burwell says tax credits go to the individuals as part of their premium payments under the currently implemented system. Financing is funded via a direct bottom line approach in terms of reducing premiums for individuals and cost-sharing reductions when services are paid for, she says. “Funds are targeted at individuals and their ability to have affordable healthcare,” she states. “The basics of the system in place are working,” she adds.
“The ACA is part of the fabric of America. And now that the highest court in the land has upheld it twice, the time has come to turn to building on the progress that we’ve made,” Burwell confirms. “It’s time to move forward,” she adds.
Now that the issues of subsidies are settled, Burwell says focus on other parts of the law are actively underway. Taking the next steps in affordability, quality, and access are next on the horizon, Burwell states. Moving from coverage to care is a top upcoming priority, she adds, explaining even she sometimes experiences a bit of confusion regarding her own family’s copays.
Improving how we collectively pay for and use taxpayer dollars is also of vital importance, she says, especially as the current system pays for volume versus value. There is ample effort towards transitioning to a focus on the overall wellness of the individual, she adds, confirming that substantial common ground in achieving progress exists.
“Building on the tools of the ACA, we have the opportunity to transform our healthcare system in unprecedented ways,” Burwell says. “There is much more work to do and together, we can seize this opportunity for transformation.”