Politics

Health care law turns six months old

It was six months ago today that President Obama signed his hard-fought health care bill into law, and love it or hate it, today’s anniversary comes with new mandates on the American health care system.

According to a new website the White House rolled out to mark the occasion, as of today, the federal government:

-Bans discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions;
-Allows young adults to remain on their parents’ health plan until their 26th birthday;
-Prohibits insurance companies from cutting off coverage if a mistake was made on the application;
-Prohibits insurance companies from putting a lifetime limit on the amount of coverage a beneficiary may receive and restricts the use of annual limits until they are banned completely in 2014.

While President Obama spent Wednesday explaining and promoting the new provisions, Republicans are taking the week to focus on the costs and regulatory burdens the law will put on health care providers and taxpayers.

“Costs will rise faster than previously forecast and millions of Americans won’t be able to keep the plans they have,” said Georgia Rep. Tom Price, chairman of the Republican Study Committee. “Far from decreasing the deficit, realistic projections show this law will push the country even closer to bankruptcy.”

The Republican Doctors Conference, a coalition of House members who are medical doctors, met on Capitol Hill Wednesday to criticize the law, calling it an “abject failure.”

“In just six short months, the new law has punished American families and businesses with higher premiums, fewer choices, and threats of future tax hikes,” said Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Tim Murphy in a statement. “Instead of fixing our broken healthcare system, the new law finances it.”

And that call for repeal? It’s still on the table — in one form or another.

House Minority Leader John Boehner has vowed that if the Republicans win control of the House in January, they will not fund the law’s mandates.

“They’ll get not one dime from us. Not a dime,” Boehner told the Cincinnati Enquirer Editorial Board earlier this month. “There is no fixing this.”

Republican Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who has said he believes that the health care law “will collapse under its own weight”, told the Associated Press that repealing the law “is a step in the right direction.”

According to tracking polls, only 42 percent of Americans approve of Obama on health care policy, while 51 percent disapprove.

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