If the Supreme Court issues a ruling later this month that financial subsides on the federal health care exchange are legal in King v. Burwell, it would be time to shift the conversation about the Affordable Care Act and focus on substance, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday.

Post-decision, Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said she is hopeful that the conversation will move to a space “where we are all working together to improve affordability, quality and access.”

Also see: More than 6M to lose nearly $2B per month if ACA subsides ruled illegal

Speaking at an Enroll America conference Washington, D.C., she said, “That’s what the [American people] expect to talk about … those issues.”

Burwell said that the conversation should also shift to expanding Medicaid which impacts not only the local economies in states but hospitals and many other stakeholders. “What I’m hopeful for is that we can move beyond the conversations that have been happening,” she added. “[And] get the conversation focused on the substance, not the politics.”

Year three open enrollment

Burwell said looking at year two open enrollment, it was important to put the consumer at the center of all stakeholders. Looking toward year three open enrollment, which opens November 1, Burwell said HHS will continue to talk to all stakeholders about what worked — and didn’t work — in years one and two.

Some changes made so far include having insurers provide clearer information on who providers are and what coverage includes, such as prescription drugs. But more guidance is needed, the secretary added.

Also see video: The implications of King v. Burwell

HHS encourages the development of tools that help inform consumers about the plans, she said, including determining what is more important, such as price or quality. And then within price, what is the most important piece — premium, co-pay or deductible?

Speaking during the keynote, Enroll America President Anne Filipic said the challenge ahead is “still daunting. Millions of Americans remain uninsured.”

Among the challenges to overcome, she said, include reaching Latinos, whose adult population is 50% more likely to be uninsured than the national average.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Employee Benefit Adviser content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access