Election Locks In Obamacare — But Not Scores Of Details
|By Diane Stafford, The Kansas City Star|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The Affordable Care Act of 2010 first survived a
Now, "this is the law of the land," Kansas Insurance Commissioner
The survival of the law green lights the most monumental change in how health care will be delivered since
Supporters say reform, to phase in by 2014, is overdue.
"We finally have a method for everyone to get their health care services in a timely fashion and have some method for paying for it," Praeger said.
Specifically, the law guarantees that citizens have access to health care coverage at group rates if they're not already covered by company or government plans. It requires that insurers cover pre-existing conditions and expands
Through the so-called individual mandate -- upheld by the
Although designed to curb cost increases, whether it will make health care more affordable is uncertain. Legal challenges remain. Countless regulations still need to be published, primarily by the
The state exchanges were conceived as online marketplaces for consumers to compare insurance plans and costs and buy coverage. In states such as
On a ballot question Tuesday,
Despite Obamacare being a flash point for public opinion, health care wasn't a top presidential campaign issue. It went on the back burner partly because Romney couldn't campaign hard against a coverage policy that he implemented in
In national exit polling Tuesday, 49 percent of voters said all or part of Obamacare should be repealed, and 44 percent said the law should be kept or expanded.
Most surveys, pre- and post-election, showed Americans' distaste for health reform when asked broadly about Obamacare. But in more detailed surveys, most respondents liked specific parts of the law, such as coverage for pre-existing conditions and the ability to keep dependents up to age 26 on parents' policies.
Despite confusion over regulations and implementation, supporters of the act celebrated Wednesday.
But meeting the law's requirements puts insurers, such as
"The administration has held off issuing a whole host of regulations that will now hit the insurance industry in an onslaught," said
Insurers must deal with a host of internal compliance details. For instance, they need clarity on what "essential health benefits" the law requires them to cover.
Even if those details are published before the first of the year, "we have a very short window to be educational in the marketplace" -- about 10 months -- to design plans and educate consumers about their insurance options for 2014, Gentile said.
"Corporate IT departments need months of lead time to get something done with this kind of database," Watts said. "All of a sudden, employers won't have much lead time."
Some employers already are trying to decide what they'll do in 2014.
"He wants to consider whether to pay
The possibility of legal challenges to the act also remains.
If the high court remands the
"You may say, let's move on.
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