The clocking is starting to wind down on the Obama administration, and Sylvia Mathews Burwell's main goal in the remaining year is to secure the future of the Affordable Care Act, according to a Bloomberg Business report.
The Obama administration has another 400-plus days before leaving the White House. "There are things we want to work on and do better. We're in the right direction and a solid place. I'm getting everything I can get done in that 13 months," Burwell, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), who took over as head of HHS in June 2014, said in an interview with Bloomberg.
With presidential election campaigns underway and Republican candidates promising to repeal the ACA, Burwell knows critics are ready to jump on any problems with the law's implementation. Last week, the Senate voted to pass legislation that would repeal large parts of the ACA, a bill certain to be vetoed by the president. But the action underscores the ongoing opposition that Obamacare faces and sets the stage to repeal the law should Republicans win the White House, according to Bloomberg.
While ACA is in its third enrollment season, Burwell is working to make sure Healthcare.gov works well and is enrolling an increased number of Americans. Federal health officials have their sights set on enrolling the 10.5 million remaining uninsured Americans during this open enrollment period.
To help people decide on which health plan to choose, Burwell said Healthcare.gov now includes a feature that allows people to see more easily what will be covered and what their out-of-pockets costs will be by estimating how much an individual might pay under different plans.
There have been struggles for the ACA over the past year, including the failure of 12 of the 23 consumer operated and oriented health plans established under the law. UnitedHealth Group Inc., the largest U.S. health insurer, also made a surprising announcement that it is considering pulling out of the ACA exchanges in 2017 because of financial losses.
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