Entries in Affordable Care Act (12)


Appeals Court to Rule on Health Care Law Provisions

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- It's possible the U.S. Supreme Court isn't done with the Affordable Care Act just yet.

After ruling last June that the law, otherwise known as "Obamacare," was constitutional, the high court gave its opponents some new life on Monday by ordering the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to determine whether the Affordable Care Act's employer requirements and mandatory coverage of contraceptives without a co-pay should stand.

Liberty University, a Christian institution in Virginia, argued successfully that the Supreme Court's decision did not deal with these provisions.

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, which represents Liberty University, said that should the 4th Circuit not agree to hear the case next spring, it would be bounced back to the high court.

Lawyers for Liberty University contend that Congress was wrong to have made it mandatory for businesses with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance for their workers or face financial penalties.

The school also disagrees with the mandatory coverage of contraceptives because it means businesses would also have to fund abortions.

The White House says that while the arguments "lack merit," it would not object to the appeals court hearing the case.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


President Obama: Health Care Law Is 'Here to Stay'

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(MAUMEE, Ohio) -- Speaking at his first campaign event since the Supreme Court upheld his signature health care legislation, President Obama boasted that the “law I passed is here to stay.”

“I'll work with anybody who wants to work with me to continue to improve our health care system and our health care laws,” the president told supporters in Maumee, Ohio, the first stop of his two-day campaign bus tour. “But the law I passed is here to stay.”

The president also had a stern warning for Republicans seeking to challenge the legislation.

“Now is not the time to spend four more years refighting battles we fought two years ago,” he said. “Now is the time to move forward and make sure that every American has affordable health insurance and that insurance companies are treating them fairly. That's what we fought for. That's what we're going to keep.”

The president argued the law will “make the vast majority of Americans more secure” and touted its more popular provisions.

“We will not go back to the days when insurance companies could discriminate against people just because they were sick. We're not going to tell 6 million young people who are now on their parents' health insurance plans that suddenly they don't have health insurance,” he said.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has said he will work to repeal the president’s health care law if elected.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


‘Obamacare’: Americans Split on Supreme Court Ruling, Gallup Poll Finds

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- On the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, including the law’s most controversial item -- the individual mandate requiring everyone to have health insurance -- a newly released poll finds that Americans are evenly split on the decision.

According to a Gallup poll released on Friday, 46 percent of adults agree with the court’s decision, while another 46 percent disagree. Unsurprisingly, the breakdown follows party lines, with 79 percent of Democrats agreeing and only 13 percent of Republicans disagreeing.

Despite the partisan divide, however, a majority of adults, 59 percent, said that they would consider the issue as “one of many important factors while voting” -- suggesting that while the issue is indeed important, it won’t be make-or-break for either candidate with the bulk of voters.

Roughly the same number of Democrats, Republicans and Independents felt this way; 60 percent of Democrats said a candidate’s position on healthcare was one of many important factors, 60 percent of Independents responded this way and 59 percent of Republicans agreed.

Gallup also polled people on what ought to happen next -- now that the court has found it constitutional, where should the law go from here? The responses were somewhat polarized, with the majority of respondents split between upholding the law, expanding it, and getting rid of it all together. Twenty-five percent of adults said that they would like Congress to “keep the law in place and pass further legislation to expand the government’s role in healthcare beyond what the law currently does,” while 31 percent responded that they would like Congress to “repeal the law entirely.”

Twenty-one percent said that they would like to repeal some parts of the law, though the poll did not specify which parts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Health Care Law Mandate ‘Tax’: How Many People Will It Affect?

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The health insurance mandate upheld today by the Supreme Court will impact roughly 26 million Americans, or 8 percent of the population, according to a recent study by the Urban Institute and an independent analysis by MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who advised both Mitt Romney and President Obama on health care law.

Those individuals will be required to obtain coverage or pay a fine starting in 2014.

Not everyone will be forced to pay out of pocket, however. Here’s how it breaks down – courtesy of the Urban Institute:

  • 8.1 million will be eligible for free/close-to-free insurance through expansion of Medicaid under the law.
  • 10.9 million will have to purchase coverage but receive subsidies to help with premiums
  • 7.3 million (2 percent of population) will not be eligible for any assistance and will simply have to buy a plan or pay the penalty.

The mandate will not directly impact most Americans.  Two hundred fifty million out of 268 million non-elderly, or 94 percent, of Americans already have insurance coverage through an employer or the government and don’t face the penalty or having to buy a new plan.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pelosi: ‘No Idea’ Whether Supreme Court Will Strike Down Individual Mandate

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi Wednesday said she has “no idea” whether the Supreme Court will strike down a key provision of the health care law that she guided through Congress during her reign as speaker of the House two years ago.

“I have no idea. None of us does,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “We are all now talking about something of which we have no knowledge because we’re not members of the Supreme Court. We have knowledge of the legislation [and] we have knowledge of the arguments, but we have no idea what the outcome will be.”

With some Supreme Court watchers predicting the justices will rule 5 to 4 down ideological lines against the individual mandate, the top Democrat on the judiciary committee, Rep. John Conyers, says he attended the oral arguments Tuesday and came away with a different impression of how the court could rule.

“My feeling is that, and I’m predicting this, is that we will have a 5-4 decision supporting the mandatory provision,” Conyers, D-Mich., said. “I’ll be checking with you in June to see which one of us were correct.”

Pelosi said congressional Democrats “have long believed in judicial review” as part of the country’s constitutional process, but said that as Democrats wrote the Affordable Care Act, “we were careful to honor our Constitution.”

“I hope it’s better than [Conyers' 5-4 prediction], because we have one thing going: the merits,” she said.

The Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday for the third day this week. A decision is not expected from the court until late June.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Supreme Court Hears ‘Obamacare’ Challenge on Individual Mandate

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In the second day of arguments regarding health care, Supreme Court justices are considering the key constitutional issue, whether the government can compel Americans to buy health insurance or pay a fine or tax. That provision kicks in 2014.

The government argues that Congress had the authority to pass the law under the Commerce Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause and its taxing power.

But opponents of the law – 26 states, four individuals and a small-business group – say Congress has no authority to force someone into the marketplace. They argue that if Congress has the power to pass the mandate, that would mean that the scope of its power is unlimited.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Health Care Law Challenger ‘Confident’ Exiting Court

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A key attorney general challenging the Affordable Care Act at the Supreme Court walked out of the building Monday morning predicting that the justices would rule the health care law unconstitutional.

Pam Bondi, the Republican Attorney General of Florida, told reporters on the steps in front of the Supreme Court that all nine justices “expressed concern” about the so-called mandate in the law that requires Americans to buy health insurance or pay a fee.

Supporters of the health care law say the fee is merely a tax, while its critics say the mandate unfairly makes people do something they otherwise might not want to.

“They do not believe this is a tax,” Bondi said of the justices.

The mandate will be debated more on Tuesday.

“I felt very confident,” Bondi said as she was surrounded by other attorneys general challenging the law.

Outside the Supreme Court on Monday, hundreds of protesters rallied to show their support for the Affordable Care Act, vastly outnumbering those who showed up opposed to the health care law.

“Freedom is a human right,” some Tea Party supports shouted, while the supporters of the Affordable Care Act marched by chanting “Health Care is a human right.”

Many of the protesters appeared to be organized with the help of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, otherwise known as AFSCME.

“We love Obama Care. We love ObamaCare,” supporters chanted in unison as they marched in front of the Court. "Care for you, care for me, care for every family.”

Other tourists waited in line for a number of seats reserved for the public. One family from Colorado at the end of the line told ABC News that they had just shown up to take in the spectacle. About 30 minutes later that family had made its way to the front of the line and was escorted into the Court by security officers.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Supreme Court Readies to Hear Health Care Law Arguments 

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Hearings will get underway Monday at the U.S. Supreme Court for one of the most eagerly anticipated cases to reach the high court in decades.

Justices will be determining the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the health insurance reform law that President Obama muscled through Congress and signed two years ago this month. 

Bringing suits against it are 26 states, four individuals and a small business group who say Congress over-reached by requiring everyone in the country who can afford it to purchase health insurance if it's not provided by an employer. 

Cynthia Magnuson with the National Federation of Independent Business, one of the groups fighting the law, says: "This is the first time in the history of our country that the government has ever forced individuals to enter a marketplace."

But backers of the law say Congress has the power because the health care system crosses state lines.

"Clearly, Congress does have the constitutional authority as part of this interstate commerce provision to regulate how health care is paid for," says Ron Pollack, who leads Families USA, a liberal group that has pushed for universal health coverage for three decades.

"Everybody needs health care, at some point in their lives -- whether it's at birth, death or often in between," he says.

But opponents like Magnuson question what that has to do with them.

"If the argument can be made about the health care market, that it is special and that it is different and that everyone will need it, it can be made about anything," she says.

Opponents are asking the high court to rule that Congress exceeded its power under the Commerce Clause, but there are several issues justices have chosen to weigh.

Over three successive days, the court will hear a total of six hours of oral arguments -- an extraordinary amount of time for the modern Supreme Court, which apparently hasn't spent as much time on one issue since 1967.

First, the court will hear arguments on whether the issue should be dealt with now or later when all aspects of the law have taken effect.  Then, on Tuesday, there will be an in-depth discussion on the individual mandate.  Finally, on Wednesday, justices will question lawyers about whether the entire law should be struck down if only part of it is found unconstitutional.  They'll also hear a claim that an expansion of Medicaid -- to cover more families -- violates states rights.

A decision, which isn't expected for months, will likely come in the heat of the presidential election.  A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll finds most Americans -- 52 percent -- oppose the health care reform law, and two-thirds say either the individual mandate or the entire law should either be tossed out.

Pollack says he isn't worried about the court ruling against him.

"I'll tell you, the biggest hurdle that needs to be climbed is the November elections," he says.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


As Health Care Law Trial Nears, 67% Say Ditch Individual Mandate

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Two-thirds of Americans say the U.S. Supreme Court should throw out either the individual mandate in the federal health care law or the law in its entirety that requires nearly all Americans to have coverage, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll.

The latest findings signal the depth of public disagreement with that element of the Affordable Care Act. The survey finds that Americans oppose the law overall by 52-41 percent.  Sixty-seven percent believe the high court should either ditch the law or at least the portion.

The high court opens hearings on the law’s constitutionality a week from Monday.

The law has never earned majority support in ABC/Post polls, and this update, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds a strong sense its critics are dominating the debate. 

Seventy percent of Americans report hearing mainly negative things about the law lately; just 19 percent say the buzz has been positive.  Even among its supporters, 53 percent are hearing more negatives than positives.  Among opponents this soars to 88 percent.

Intensity of sentiment is more negative as well: Forty-one percent strongly oppose the law, while only a quarter strongly support it.

The Obama administration has long had difficulty convincing Americans of the benefits of the law.  In a January 2011 ABC/Post poll, for example, more people expected the law to increase rather than decrease the deficit (62-29 percent), hurt rather than help the economy (54-39 percent) and cut rather than create jobs (46-38 percent).

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Admin. Files Brief Defending Individual Mandate

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration on Friday filed its first merits brief on the constitutionality of a key provision of the health care law. At issue is the individual mandate that requires people to buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a tax penalty.

In the 80-page brief, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. argues that the uninsured shift, “tens of billions of dollars of costs for the uncompensated care they receive to other market participants annually.”

Verrilli writes, “The Act breaks this cycle through a comprehensive framework of economic regulation and incentives that will improve the functioning of the national market for health care by regulating the terms on which insurance is offered, controlling costs, and rationalizing the timing and method of payment for health care services.”

Opponents of the law argue that Congress exceeded its authority by requiring individuals to buy health insurance. The brief from lawyers representing 26 states opposed to the law is due on February 6.

Arguments in the case will be held in late March.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio