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At the Crossroads of Health Care and Innovation

Summary: 
Earlier this month, Secretary Burwell traveled to Rock Health in San Francisco to meet with healthcare entrepreneurs.

Earlier this month, Secretary Burwell traveled to San Francisco. During her trip, she had the opportunity to meet with private sector leaders on a myriad of issues including precision medicine, how to better transform our healthcare delivery system and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. One of those meetings was held at Rock Health with several entrepreneurs who are doing innovative work in the healthcare space, and some of whom have started businesses thanks to the Affordable Care Act. 

Rock Health is a seed and early-stage venture fund that supports startups building the next generation of technologies transforming healthcare. During her visit, Secretary Burwell did a lot of listening, but also engaged in lively discussion focused on how the department could better support entrepreneurs and innovation. The Secretary was able to hear from leaders in the field about how we can better collaborate with innovators who seek to deliver better health care at more affordable cost; and work together to leverage data to empower consumers.

Secretary Burwell was encouraged 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 more access to health insurance, Rock Health’s Managing Director Malay Gandhi has seen this culture of innovation first-hand through his own experience working day in and day out with entrepreneurs:

“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.”

The Secretary shared her reflections on the Administration’s efforts to promote and cultivate 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.”

Over the coming months ahead, the Secretary will continue to meet with private sector leaders to hear how the Administration can partner and be helpful to their efforts. Thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act, we are seeing exceptionally slow growth across many measures of health care costs. In 2014, the average premium for employer-based family coverage rose just 3 percent according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the smallest increase since the survey began in 1999. Had those premiums grown since 2010 at the pace recorded over the preceding decade, they would be $1,800 higher today. Lower premiums make it easier for businesses to hire today and in the long run mean higher wages for workers. Congressional Budget Office estimates show 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, freeing Americans to choose the job that best matches their goals and promoting entrepreneurship.

Secretary Burwell participates in a discussion at Rock Health during a trip to San Francisco.
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