You Called, She Answered: Secretary Sebelius Honors HCFA HelpLine

This month, as the nation was abuzz about the possible repeal of the nation’s first ever universal health care bill – the Affordable Care Act – eyes turned away from the Capitol and toward Massachusetts – more specifically, Health Care For All where US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius came to celebrate our HelpLine and deliver a message to the country about what we stand to lose if the nation’s health care law were repealed. Health Care For All was honored and appreciative that Secretary Sebelius chose to come to the offices of Massachusetts’ leading patient advocacy group to defend the most comprehensive health care law in U.S. history.  With her visit, the Secretary made it clear that the Affordable Care Act is first and foremost about consumers – a mission we are proud to share and promote through our advocacy and consumer engagement work.

HelpLine Counselor Denise Moran talks with HHS Sec. Sebelius

HCFA HelpLine Counselor Denise Moran talks with US HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about consumer assistance.

At a roundtable discussion hosted by Health Care For All, Secretary Sebelius heard directly from a HelpLine caller about how health reform has allowed her daughter to get the critical care she depends on.  The Secretary focused on the need for consumers to understand the new benefits they will receive with full implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  Something we, at Health Care For All, have much success and experience with through our consumer HelpLine.When Massachusetts passed its landmark health law nearly five years ago it was a victory for consumers.  But it also created a labyrinth of questions for individuals who weren’t sure how to enroll or what new coverage options were available to them.  Out of this need the HCFA HelpLine filled the gap. During her visit, Secretary Sebelius spoke directly with each counselor, hearing from them directly on the challenges they face and the assistance they are able to provide.

As you know, our consumer HelpLine fields an average of 100 calls a day in three different languages.  Our counselors deliver culturally-competent enrollment assistance to thousands of consumers every year.  For this work Secretary Sebelius recognized our HelpLine as the model for other states to follow during implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

US HSS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius meets consumer assisted by HCFA HelpLine

US HSS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius meets consumer assisted by HCFA HelpLine

However, like Rome our HelpLine wasn’t built in a day.  It was created, strengthened, and improved by partners like you.  You share in this great honor and we hope you will continue to support our nationally recognized efforts to help consumers navigate our complicated health care system.

In addition to Secretary Sebelius and her marvelous staff, we’d like to thank Massachusetts Secretary of HHS Dr. Judyann Bigby, Regional HHS Director Christie Hager, Executive Director of the Connector Authority Glen Shor, Executive Director of Health Law Advocates Matt Selig, GBIO President Reverend Hurmon Hamilton, Vice President of Community Health at Partners Healthcare Matt Fishman, and, of course, our dedicated HelpLine counselors who work day in and day out to ensure consumers get the care they need, for making our roundtable a huge success.

US HSS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and HCFA Executive Director Amy Whitcomb Slemmer

US HSS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and HCFA Executive Director Amy Whitcomb Slemmer
To read our press release and news coverage of this month’s event click the links below.
-Amy Whitcomb Slemmer

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