The Battle for the Future of Health Care Reform: How It Will Impact You

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"I think it's important to recognize there's a difference between political posturing and governing," Feder added. "I think that the value of this law to states in terms of assisting them with resources and new capacity to manage their health care system will ultimately prevail because the health care system as is, is not good for families. It's not good for states. It's not good for anybody, whether from a health or budgetary perspective. Nobody wants the status quo."

As the law has taken effect, the federal government has launched what it calls "consumer protection" plans, including sending checks to seniors who have hit the ceiling on their Medicare prescription plans, cutting lifetime maximums, and eliminating pre-existing conditions for children.

But opponents of the law say that consumers are actually being negatively impacted as evidenced by the premium hikes that many insurance companies have imposed over recent months.

Edmund Haislmaier, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, argues that the programs included in the health care law could have been done at a lower cost.

"What this bill does is, it says we guarantee that you will spend no more than X percentage of your income on care, on a health plan that meets this standard," he said. "That's subsidizing your income. It's welfare policy not health care policy. It makes the system incredibly complicated and incredibly difficult to administer."

"The problem is they threw in a bunch of stuff which they didn't know how it would work," he added, citing the "medical loss ratio" provision that designates how much of each $1 in premiums should go into actual health care coverage versus administrative costs. "There are not only absolutely no incentives to control costs, there are positive incentives to increase costs," Haislmaier said.

Americans' view on health care reform is mixed, but most still remain confused about what it entails. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted after the mid-term election found that more than half -- 56 percent -- of those who voted would like to see the law repealed entirely or in parts, but among Americans generally, only a quarter wanted to repeal parts of it.

New parts of the law will take effect, just as the new Congress begins meeting next January. Republicans are likely to take up hearings on the law, early in the first session.

"We've made a pledge to repeal it and replace it with common sense reforms that will lower cost," said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader and soon-to-be Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio. "And I think you'll see very effective oversight of the law."

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