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Health care reform pushes ahead
December 12th, 2012
WASHINGTON – Implementation of the Affordable Care Act health care reform law is on track as 2012 draws to a close.
By January 1, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius must decide which states are capable of running their own health insurance exchanges.
States have until the middle of this month to decide whether they wanted to establish and operate the online markets through which consumers can enroll beginning in October for coverage that will begin in 2014 — the year in which most Americans will be required to have health insurance. The federal government will run exchanges for states that refuse to do so or for those that are unable to meet federal deadlines.
In New Jersey for example, Republican Gov. Chris Christie recently vetoed, for the second time, a bill that had been approved by Democratic lawmakers that would have established such a program.
What's more, the required benefits will vary from state to state.
“The Affordable Care Act is building a health insurance market that works for consumers,” said Sebelius. “Thanks to the health care law, no one will be discriminated against because of a preexisting condition.”
Relatedly, the Washington Post recently reported that increasing evidence indicates that most of the low-income Americans who will become eligible for subsidized insurance fail to understand the details of the health care program and are unaware of the urgency because the subsidies won’t begin for another year.
Policy experts warn that the lack of public awareness could jeopardize the system because it will depend significantly on having high numbers of people involved; thus, low enrollment could lead to higher premiums.
Although the Affordable Care Act was a friction point during the recent presidential and congressional campaigns, a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that public support for repealing President Obama’s signature health care law hit a record low in the immediate aftermath of his reelection.
The survey shows 33% support for repealing the law, the lowest level that the poll has recorded since Obama signed the legislation in March 2010.
That same poll indicates that 48% of those surveyed believe Obama’s second term will be good for Medicare, compared with 29% who assert his reelection will be bad for the program.