HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell spoke today about the need for bipartisanship for healthcare innovation to truly work.
- Earlier today, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell took the stage at a New America Foundation event to discuss the U.S. healthcare system. The theme of the conversation was “Common Interests, Common Ground.” Burwell touched on a number of topics including the Affordable Care Act (ACA), U.S. economy, Medicaid expansion, the response to the ebola outbreak and the need for continued support of industry innovation. There was also a high focus on fixing things now to support the next generation.
The other big topic of conversation was looking for the previously mentioned “common ground.” She spoke about the need to work across the aisle to get things done and open the door to different sectors. Unsurprisingly, much of this was focused on the ACA, Medicare and Medicaid.
“These efforts [to undo pieces of the ACA] are happening despite increasing evidence that the law is working,” she said. “[Americans] want us to stop the back and forth and to move forward and to focus on the substance.”
She added that both sides agree the system that was in place for 50 years needs to be reformed, saying “the prices we paid outweigh the progress we have made.” Nearly everyone agrees that new systems are needs. In recent years, innovation has been pushing progress and the ACA is playing a large part in this.
“It’s now within our common interest to build a health care delivery system that’s better, smarter and healthier,” Burwell said.
She also spoke about the opportunity and responsibility that America feels when it comes to leading the way on innovation in science and medicine.
“We want to work with Congress to secure the investments in science, research, and innovation that will allow our nation’s scientists and researchers to continue the progress they’ve been making on new and improved vaccines, cures, therapies, and rapid diagnostics,” Burwell said. “We agree on the need to promote innovation, collaboration and data sharing among scientists.”
For real progress to happen, the focus needs to be on the areas where common ground already exists. For the ACA this includes the issues of affordability, quality and access, with an eye on a successful open enrollment. There also needs to be more focus on creating a marketplace that focuses on consumers. Medicaid expansion is needed, but should happen with an in a manner that helps the individual states that opt for it and embraces the innovation of each state. Furthermore, there needs to be work done on the care delivery system, possibly in different ways. However, it will still take government initiatives and grants and the private sector.
“If we take action to advance innovation and choose to work together, we will build a stronger, healthier future for the next generation,” Burwell said.