The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a new report showing that the Affordable Care Act provides states with significant flexibility and resources to improve health care benefits and protect consumers.
Already, the law has provided or offered $2.8 billion in funding to states. This is a fraction of the total funding available under the law to help states implement new consumer protections, expand health coverage, and improve health care quality.
“The Affordable Care Act is built on the foundation of providing states with the resources and flexibility they need to build a better, more affordable health care system,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “This report shows that states have what they need to continue putting comprehensive health insurance reforms in place.”
Prior to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, the fractured health care system placed tremendous financial burdens on states. In 2008, for example, states spent $17.2 billion on uncompensated care due to the large number of Americans without health insurance. Rising health care costs have also had a significant impact on state budgets.
The Affordable Care Act builds on ongoing state efforts to reform health care, and provides states with new tools, flexibility, and resources to provide their residents with health care benefits and consumer protections at an affordable price. At a time when states are struggling with budget deficits, these resources are providing governors, state legislators and regulators, and the people they serve, with vital assistance to improve lives and reduce costs.
The law also empowers states to choose a variety of implementation strategies to reflect their different insurance markets, provider networks, and the needs of their residents. Under the law, states receive substantial flexibility and financial support to cover the cost of creating new competitive insurance marketplaces and extending coverage to more Americans.
The report can be found at www.HealthCare.gov/center/reports/states02252011a.pdf.