These reports, Sebelius said, "make it very clear that we have a long way to go. You see these trends every day in the faces of your patients and the numbers at the bottom lines of your budgets. But you wouldn't be here today if you didn't have optimism that every one of us has a role and a responsibility in improving care."
In dispelling rumors that much of the healthcare reform legislation could be gutted, Sebelius pledged that the new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center, funded $10 billion to develop new payment and delivery of care models, is a reality.
"It's already been appropriated. It's available too, so those of you who hear the discussion of defunding – whatever – this money is there, and it's going to be invested in improvement in healthcare."
In fact, she said, the center has "not wasting any time getting started" and has launched four programs, most of them targeting improvements in care for the poor and elderly, such as those "dual eligibles," who qualify for both Medicare, because of their age, as well as Medicaid because of their income level.
Sebelius closed her talk saying that she sees the Affordable Care Act as "a toolkit at our disposal."
Providing "Better health, better care, at lower per capita cost for every American every day is what the new system should be all about. We've made progress, but we have a long way to go," she said.