Entries in Law (4)


Obama Video Marks Health Care Law Anniversary

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama marks the two-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act with a new campaign video that recounts how “an unmet promise” of health insurance reform became “the law of the land.”

The film, like a recent campaign documentary on Obama’s first term, casts the president as a historic champion of everyday Americans who have battled with insurance companies or struggled to receive care.

“Health care is a fundamental challenge that this country has faced for a long time,” Obama says, juxtaposed between archival footage of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Bill Clinton, who each attempted to make health care a domestic policy priority.


“We have tens of millions of people without health insurance; We’ve got people who were getting a raw deal from their insurance companies; People with preexisting conditions who couldn’t get coverage, or their kids have preexisting conditions and couldn’t get covered.  It is heartbreaking,” he says in between clips of news stories and personal testimonials on the issues.

“I was not going to allow another decade to pass by where we kick the can down the road because it was the politically convenient thing to do,” he says.

The film – titled The Story of the Affordable Care Act: An Unmet Promise to Law of the Land -- then pivots to what Democrats say is at risk in the 2012 campaign.

“Right now you have choices about who’s going to fight for you: ‘Are we going to roll back health care that promises you having more security, maybe gives you a chance to get health insurance for the very first time?’ You need somebody who’s fighting for you right now, and that’s what I wake up thinking about every single day, fighting for you.”

The White House has said Obama does not have plans Friday to publicly mark the law’s anniversary.

Americans remain skeptical of the legislation, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.  Fifty-two percent oppose the law overall, while just 41 percent support it.  Two thirds of Americans think the Supreme Court should either overturn the law or at least the insurance mandate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Kagan on Health Care in '09-'10: ‘They Have the Votes!! Simply Amazing’

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- She’s now a Supreme Court Justice who could hear arguments in March about the constitutionality of President Obama’s signature legislation, the health care law. That is, if she doesn't recuse herself first: and critics say her email history proves she should do just that.

But in 2009 and 2010, Justice Elena Kagan was President Obama’s solicitor general. And in emails from that time that were recently obtained by conservative government watchdog Judicial Watch, Kagan is clearly pleased with the passage of the bill.

Most notably, in a March 21, 2010 email to then-Senior Counselor for Access to Justice Laurence Tribe, Kagan writes, “I hear they have the votes Larry!! Simply amazing…”

Kagan is seen keeping close tabs on the legislation. In another exchange, deputy solicitor general Neal Katyal informs Kagan that “We just got Snowe on health care,” a reference to Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.

She emails with David Barron, then-acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, about a Wall Street Journal op-ed discussing legislative strategy on “deeming” the health care bill into law.

During her confirmation hearings for the Court, Kagan told Congress she had never offered any views or comment regarding the merits of a challenge to the health care law brought by lawyers for Florida and several other States who believe the law is unconstitutional.

Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton writes that “These new emails are bound to raise additional questions about whether Justice Kagan ought to participate in High Court deliberations on Obamacare. Certainly, if these documents were known at the time of her confirmation, there may have been quite a different senate debate. The Obama Justice Department dumped these documents just before a holiday weekend, hoping they would go unnoticed. This slow-walking of documents out of the Obama Justice Department is scandalous and makes one wonder what other information they are sitting on.”

White House officials had no comment. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tucson Shooting Survivors Urge Congress to Act on Gun Laws

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Survivors of the Tucson, Ariz., shooting rampage that left six dead and 13 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, raised their voices to Congress on Tuesday, calling for stricter gun laws, while also offering words of encouragement to the recovering congresswoman.

Patricia Maisch, who wrestled the gun clip from alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of the Fix Gun Checks Act, which would require background checks on anyone who tries to buy a gun, while also tightening rules mandating federal agencies and states to report criminal background activity.

“I am definitely here to remember the names of those we lost, as well as to honor each survivor,” Maisch said. “But my primary mission today is to remind all of you that Tucson is yet another extremely tragic example of what is at stake each and every time a gun falls — or is placed — in the wrong hands.”

Maisch was joined by several others who played a critical role in the moments after Loughner allegedly opened fire in Tucson on Jan. 8.

In addition to the Tucson survivors, more than 50 victims of gun violence from around the country were also present at the Senate Judiciary hearing Tuesday, after a day of lobbying their congressional representatives.

The Tucson survivors had words of encouragement for their recovering congresswoman. Maisch had a message for Giffords, who gave her first interview Monday with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer.

“I know it’s hard. Keep working,” Maisch said following her testimony. “You’re in my prayers.”

While the guns bill had a tremendous showing of support in the audience, there is opposition to the legislation. A research director of the Independence Institute, David Kopel, who testified before the committee, had sharp criticisms for the proposed law, saying that it would ban gun ownership for anyone who’s ever been ordered to receive treatment for any mental problem.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the author of the legislation, denied Kopel’s assertion that the bill would apply broadly to anyone who’s received counseling, saying that the legislation would only deny gun ownership to individuals who were determined to be mentally ill through adjudication.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Federal Appeals Court Upholds Health Care Reform Law

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) -- In a victory for the Obama administration, a federal appeals court has upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The decision marks the first time an appellate court has weighed in on the issue and also the first time a judge, appointed by a Republican president, has voted to uphold the law.

The case stems from a challenge from the Thomas More Center, a public interest law firm, and four Michigan residents who claimed that the individual mandate -- the portion of the law that requires individuals to buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a tax penalty -- is unconstitutional.

In his opinion Judge Boyce F. Martin Jr. of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals said the law is constitutional under the Commerce Clause because the provision "regulates economic activity" with a "substantial" effect on interstate commerce.

"In addition," he wrote, "Congress had a rational basis to believe that the provision was essential to its larger economic scheme reforming the interstate markets in heath care and health insurance."

Martin, who was appointed to the bench by President Jimmy Carter, was joined in the decision by Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton, who was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush. Before Wednesday, every other judge who had voted to uphold the law was nominated by a Democratic president and those who voted against it were nominated by a Republican president.

This will not be the only federal appeals court ruling on the law. A federal appeals court in Virginia appeared more skeptical of the law when it heard arguments in May.

The question raised by these cases about the Affordable Care Act - whether the government has the authority to make citizens buy health insurance or pay a fine - is almost assured a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio