We are live as the AcademyHealth National Health Policy Conference kicks off today in Washington, D.C. Administration and state officials, Congressional leaders, providers, and policy professionals have come together to share their insights on the policy priorities for the year ahead and what it all means for people, organizations, and systems. The meeting kicked off with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who gave an overview of the administration's priorities. Obviously, the focus for HHS is moving forward with ACA impelementation and encouraging providers, insurers, and policymakers to move the process forward. "The ACA is here to stay and it's beginning to show great promise," she said. "Changes are translating into real improvements in people's lives...We've only begun to see the difference and we need continued efforts of partners to achieve the law's full potential." One of the most transformative elements of the law is the expansion of Mediciad in the states. "There has never been a federal-state partnership that looks like this," she explained. "It's as good a deal as any state is going to get, and I'd love your help in getting the facts into the debate." Sebelius stressed the importance of health services research in informing policy and practice and the need for researchers to translate findings to address critical needs in a timely manner. "You've helped identify problems and evaluate solutions. But too often reports have come in long papers five years after the fact. We need information in real time so we can drive it in real time and use it to inform policy and change people's lives." Over the next two days experts will be discussing some of the most pressing policy challenges and opportunities: looming ACA deadlines, a surge of newly insured individuals, widespread adoption of health IT and decisions on how to use the data, and the continued growth in health care spending. Follow us here and on Twitter (#nhpc).