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A Turning Point for Health Care and Innovation

Earlier this month, Secretary Burwell traveled to San Francisco and met with private sector leaders on countless of issues including how to better transform our healthcare delivery system and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. One of those meetings was held at Rock Health, an early-stage venture fund company that supports startups of the next generation of technologies transforming healthcare. During her visit, Secretary Burwell focused on how the department could better support entrepreneurs and innovation. The Secretary heard from influential leaders in the field about how we can team up with innovators who seek to deliver better health care at more affordable cost; and work together to influence data to empower consumers.

Secretary Burwell

Secretary Burwell was optimistic to hear from entrepreneurs who were able to get access to quality affordable healthcare for the first time thanks to the Affordable Care Act. 

“With the availability of quality, affordable healthcare through the Marketplaces, entrepreneurs can take a chance on a great idea, instead of being locked into a job solely to keep their health insurance.” 

In addition to more entrepreneurs having further access to health insurance, Rock Health’s Managing Director Malay Gandhi has seen this culture of innovation personally:

“Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, innovation at the intersection of healthcare and technology has exploded. Venture funding of digital health companies has more than quadrupled since the passage of the ACA, reaching $4B in 2014—largely driven by the rise of population health management and consumerism, trends underpinned by the shift towards accountable care organizations (ACOs) and Health Insurance Exchanges.”

Secretary Burwell shared her thoughts on the Administration’s efforts to support and grow a culture of innovation across government Act:

"The ACA has also provided funding for us to make more investments in data and make that data available to the private sector to help find solutions to some of our biggest challenges through innovation. Healthcare technology, particularly health IT, is an area where a great deal of innovation is taking place, leading to the creation of new jobs. And as we work to transform our healthcare delivery system to one that is smarter, provides better care and spends our dollars more wisely, there is a tremendous opportunity to improve value and choice for consumers and providers by empowering them with information. The ideas and partnership from the private sector here will play an important role.”

In the coming months, Secretary Burwell will continue to engage with private sector leaders to hear how the Administration can partner with companies and be helpful to their efforts. Thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act, we are seeing really slow growth across many measures of health care costs. In 2014, the average premium for employer-based family coverage rose 3 percent according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the smallest increase since the survey started 15 years prior. Had those premiums grown since 2010 at the pace recorded over the previous decade, they would be $1,800 higher today. Lower premiums are making it easier for businesses to hire and in the long run mean higher wages for workers. Congressional Budget Office estimates explain that the law will reduce the deficit by about $100 billion over its first ten years and $1.7 trillion over its first two decades, boosting national saving and laying the foundation for future growth. By ensuring access to affordable health insurance even for people who can’t get it at work, the Affordable Care Act is reducing job lock, allowing people to choose the job that best matches their goals and promoting entrepreneurship.

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