A View from the States

By HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Washington Governor Christine Gregoire
Posted February 09, 2011

States are on the front lines of making health reform a reality for Americans across the country.

Each state has different needs and goals, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to implementing the law.  To fit the different needs of each state, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recognizes that the best ideas for implementing the Affordable Care Act will come from the ground-up.  HHS is committed to making sure that states have the resources and flexibility they need to ultimately transform the delivery of care, improve patient safety, and bring down costs.

Over the last ten months, the state of Washington has been a model when it comes to implementing the new law, by leading the way to make health care safer, more patient centered and more affordable. For example, thanks to Affordable Care Act grants, new Consumer Assistance Programs are being established to strengthen and enhance ongoing efforts in local communities to protect consumers from some of the worst insurance industry practices. Here is what Washington State is doing:

  • Creating a consumer education presentation about the Affordable Care Act in English, Chinese and Spanish to be used in at least ten linguistically and culturally appropriate education events.
  • Helping consumers resolve health care related issues and facilitate referrals for help with the resolution of disputes.
  • Developing an online Toolkit in English, Chinese and Spanish to assist with health plan appeals.
  • Assisting consumers with their appeals by providing support through the process.
  • Enhancing current data collection systems.

HHS wants to learn from the best practices in states like Washington, and help to share them so that all Americans can enjoy high-quality, affordable care.

Sharing these best practices will not only improve our health. It will also help to reduce the burden of health care costs on families, businesses, and state and federal budgets.