This afternoon, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius spoke at the National Press Club to discuss how health reform will increase health security. She explained that the Affordable Care Act will give Americans more control over their health care by reining in unfair insurance practices. The law includes the largest middle class tax cut for health care in American history and provides the biggest expansion in health care coverage since Medicare.
Secretary Sebelius explained that the new law “is not a magic pill that will cure all the problems in our health care system.” She described the reforms as “puzzle pieces,” with each reform being implemented after the next to strengthen the health insurance system without disrupting it.
She said that they have already began acting to enforce the law by working with states to create high risk pool programs that will help uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions get coverage. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been restructured to prepare for the new responsibilities under health insurance reform, and later this week, HHS will open new Medicaid options to cover low-income adults.
Secretary Sebelius also pointed out that scam artists have been trying to capitalize on the new health care law by setting up 1-800 numbers and trying to sell fraudulent insurance policies. Today, Secretary Sebelius sent letters to State Commissioners and Attorney Generals to investigate and prosecute these scams.
Secretary Sebelius said that HHS will make sure that Americans can receive the full benefits of the new law by providing Americans with access to information, eliminating waste in order to make every dollar count, and noted that “we will never lose sight of why we pursued this legislation in the first place, fought so hard for it, and are celebrating it as such a historic accomplishment.” She explained that they are beginning to implement the reforms of the health care legislation effectively, stating that “Our work didn’t end when President Obama put down his pen. In some ways, it’s just begun.”
As always, find out what health reform means for you, and learn about the benefits kicking in this year in the Health Reform section of WhiteHouse.gov.