|By John Guerriero, Erie Times-News, Pa.|
The congressional debates, the tea party protests, the criticism and the praise over national health-care reform gradually faded into the background after dominating the national conversation in the first two years of his presidency.
But the conversation about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- known derisively by critics as "Obamacare" -- is back, in a big way.
The anniversary itself, the
Even after the court finishes hearing arguments Wednesday, the issue will remain at the forefront for months to come.
"It's going to be one of the major news stories of the summer," said
Depending on which candidate emerges as the
Speel said that if front-runner Romney becomes the nominee, he'd have a tougher time criticizing Obama on health-care reform.
But Speel said the other
Santorum is taking on both Obama and Romney at the same time, calling for the repeal of what he calls "ObamaRomneycare."
Santorum has said that "Obamacare" would be a "death knell for freedom."
Opponents also have charged that the worst fears of the legislation have already come into play in the form of higher costs and regulations, which the law's supporters refute.
The case is now before the
Arguments are scheduled today on that issue.
The court will consider whether it's constitutional for the federal government to require individuals to get health insurance, either through an employer, a government program or by direct purchase -- and face a financial penalty for not doing so.
"It's an example of what many conservatives would label as big government run amok," Speel said.
Critics have seized upon the timing of the anniversary and the high court's hearing of the case to renew a call to throw out all or part of the law.
And the Obama administration has highlighted some parts of the law already in place, such as allowing adult children to stay on their parents' health-care coverage until age 26 if they don't have a job or work without insurance coverage.
Last week, the Obama campaign in
The Calderons have another daughter in college, and two more in high school, and
"I know that there are a lot of people out there like me, working full time, raising kids, caring for a parent, and every little bit helps," she said.
The Obama administration said that nationwide, 2.5 million more young adults have health insurance on their parents' plans, including about 1,400 in
But Americans are largely divided over the law.
The survey reflects the ideological divide between the two major parties.
The survey showed that 84 percent of Republicans reject the law, while 76 percent of Democrats support it. Independents, a key voting bloc that could decide the election, are divided -- with 44 percent approving, 47 percent disapproving and the rest unsure.
Some pieces in place
While many parts of the law would be phased in through 2020, several other pieces of the law are already in place.
- Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to children because of a pre-existing condition. That will apply to everyone starting in 2014.
- Insurance companies can't set a lifetime limit on the dollar amount of coverage that patients receive.
- Insurance companies must spend 80 percent of premiums on care.
- The coverage gap, or so-called doughnut hole, to pay for prescription drugs has started to close for seniors and people with disabilities on
- Health plans cover preventive care without charging co-pays. That includes
Most of the major provisions would roll out in 2014.
- Coverage to more than 30 million uninsured.
- Expansion of
- Creation of exchanges, or state-based health insurance markets, for small businesses and those buying private coverage individually.
- The individual mandate requirement, in which the
- A requirement that companies with 50 or more employees provide coverage to their full-time workers.
Other changes are coming, too, for hospitals in the way they will be paid by
Rather than a fee-per-service basis, the model under reform calls for them to be paid in part based on a series of quality measures and patient outcomes.
"That's why we think the
In the meantime, health-care providers, insurance companies, businesses, politicians, the insured, and the uninsured will eagerly await the high court's ruling.
"If you've got a crystal ball that will tell me how the
(c)2012 the Erie Times-News (Erie, Pa.)
Visit the Erie Times-News (Erie, Pa.) at www.GoErie.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
|Source:||McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|