NPR : News

Filed Under:

At Age 3, Affordable Care Act Is No Less Controversial

The Affordable Care Act turns 3 on Saturday, and it seems just as divisive as the day President Obama signed it.

"This law expands our competitiveness, promotes wellness and prevention, and enhances the economic security of the middle class," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement on Friday. "It enables Americans to pursue their dreams, start a business, change jobs or care for their families with the certainty and security of affordable, quality health insurance."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell replied in a statement of his own:

"Three years after Senate Democrats passed Obamacare on a party-line vote, the terrible consequences that Republicans warned about are coming true. It's already costing jobs, health insurance premiums are skyrocketing, government spending on health care is expected to increase dramatically, and millions of Americans are expected to lose the employer-sponsored health insurance they currently enjoy."

Small wonder the latest monthly tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds the public more confused than ever about the law.

Among other things, the poll found the public less informed about things that are — and are not — part of the law now than when it passed in 2010.

But that might not be such a terrible thing, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told Shots in an interview earlier this week.

"I must say, if knowing less means they know less of the hostile back-and-forth, that might not be a bad idea," she said. "Because if you think about what they knew three years ago, none of it was very positive. So I think we have an opportunity to reset the stage."

Sebelius said the department would have to make the best of the fact that it did not get the additional funding it sought in the recently passed budget bill that will fund the government — and HHS — for the remainder of the year.

"It's always a difficult situation when the resources are not there at the front end," she said. "I think we are in the process of redoing budgets and looking at ways we can make this effort work. Because, as the president said, this is a top priority. We want everything to be up and running, so we will figure out a way to move forward."

But even as the administration and its partners work to ready the new health exchanges for an Oct. 1 rollout, opponents are not giving up, either. They include Utah Republican Orrin Hatch, a ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, who said:

"On this third anniversary, please join with me in continuing to push to repeal this disastrous law."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Pack These Pages: Three Must-Reads For Summer

Harriet Logan, owner of Loganberry Books in Shaker Heights, Ohio, recommends a graphic novel about trash, a George Eliot classic and a children's book about a bear pianist.
NPR

Why Does Every New Restaurant Look Like A Factory?

The stripped-down look of exposed brick, poured cement floors, and Edison light bulbs is popular in restaurants across America. One reporter dares to ask, "Seriously, why?"
WAMU 88.5

Why Local Nonprofits Haven't Fixed Poverty

As long as there has been poverty, there have been people trying to end it. We explore the obstacles and inefficiencies local nonprofits run into when trying to solve society's stubborn problem.

WAMU 88.5

Can We Trust Our Cars?

There were more airbag recalls this week, and VW has agreed to pay nearly fifteen billion in its emissions cheating scandal. Meanwhile, cars with driverless technology are becoming available, but whether they will make us safer is up for debate. A look at auto safety and consumer trust.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.