Health Care Law Under the Microscope: Can It Solve States' Health Crisis?


"There's no magic bullet in the law but there are a a lot of aspects in the health care law that are designed to make the system work more efficiently," said Alan Weil, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy, citing ongoing benefits such as the elimination of pre-existing condition for children and no lifetime limits on coverage as examples of improving health coverage for consumers.

Weil argues that it will take some time before the full effects of the benefits kick in, and that states will need the federal dollars given to them under the Affordable Care Act when the stimulus money dries up this summer.

But that process could be complicated by Republicans in the House of Representatives who are planning to repeal the health care law, even if only in a symbolic gesture.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that repealing the health care law would cost $145 billion through the end of the decade and $230 billion by 2021, and that it would add to the federal budget deficit by a total of roughly $145 billion.

But House Republicans are vowing to move forward with their plans.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, has blasted the "job-killing health care law" and his office blamed Democrats for "rigging" the CBO estimate.

Supporters of the health care law blame Republicans for a double standard.

"This is making a whole lot visible the double standard in Republicans' support of repeal. The double standard is they want to take away from the American people what they want to keep for themselves courtesy of the American taxpayer," said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA.

The one upside of the renewed debate, he said, is that it will give supporters the chance to explain the law's benefits more clearly to Americans.

Opposition to the health care reform law outstripped support by a record margin, 52 percent to 43 percent, in an ABC News/Washington Post poll last month. That marked a new low for the law since it was enacted early last year.

More also continue to "strongly" oppose the law than to strongly support it, 37 percent to 22 percent.

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