News / USA

Controversial US Health Care Reforms Reach a Milestone

Darryl Clairborn tries to use the HealthCare.gov web sight to sign up for health insurance at the business office of Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas, March 31, 2014.
Darryl Clairborn tries to use the HealthCare.gov web sight to sign up for health insurance at the business office of Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas, March 31, 2014.
VOA News
More than six million Americans are now enrolled in new health insurance coverage in the United States, but the law mandating health care reforms throughout the country remains as controversial as when Congress approved it four years ago.

Most U.S. workers receive health insurance at their workplace that is largely paid for by their employers. But those who do not have such coverage faced a Monday deadline to start buying insurance or pay a financial penalty that could equal 1 percent of their salaries.

Congress approved the massive overhaul of U.S. health care in 2010. It remains as President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement, although many of the reforms are just now taking shape.

But only his Democratic colleagues voted for it and most Republicans remain adamantly opposed to it. They especially object to the requirement to buy insurance, which they consider an infringement on personal liberties.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has voted more than 50 times to repeal it, measures ignored and left to die in the Democratic-run Senate.

The new health insurance was first offered in October, but the government's Internet enrollment site was ill-equipped to handle would-be customers, leading to massive delays and widespread complaints. Most of the technical glitches appear to have been fixed and enrollment soared as Monday's deadline approached.

But even on the last day, people using the website were greeted with a message that it was down for maintenance.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid lauded the law's goal of providing more people with insurance, often with government subsidies.

"The rollout was really bad," he said. "But let's look at what's happened since that. We have millions of people who have signed up. Millions!"

The law is popularly known in the U.S. as Obamacare, and surveys show voters more opposed to it than not. But many people like some of the reforms, such as a ban on private insurers denying coverage to someone with a pre-existing condition requiring costly medical care.

The law is aimed at greatly increasing the number of people covered by health insurance in the country, and the government estimates about 25 million more people could have insurance by 2016. That would leave about 9 percent without insurance, partly because some states have refused to expand coverage for the poor.

The more than six million people enrolled in new insurance plans has come close to the original estimate that seven million people would sign up by Monday's deadline.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the law constitutional in 2012. But numerous challenges to specific provisions of the law are being heard throughout the U.S. court system, and the Supreme Court heard one such case last week. It expects to rule by June whether employers with religious objections to the law are required to provide contraceptives for their female workers.

You May Like

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Not Again from: Canada
April 07, 2014 8:34 PM
The Affordable Care Act, is the right humanitarian action to support, all should be behind it, to help people get health care coverage. The results are already showing that, notwithstanding the initial software launching problems, it is rapidly gaining acceptance. As any other human designed/ fielded system, it will need to be made more effective and more efficient over time. No such complex system will ever be perfect from day one, nor will it ever achieve perfection. In Canada, for over 50 yrs the system has been updated, incrementally changed, made better,and in some cases now even private sector organizations contribute to bettering its services, the system is continuously evolving, it is a work in progress. There are very few Canadians, other than the very rich, that would give it up for a full private sector system. In other countries around the World, that have a public sector system, that is funded by all the taxpayers, it works well; surveys in those countries also show the people would not give it up for full private system, they too are not perfect. The Affordable Care Act must have clear pathways for it to be easily improved, as better ways/processes are demonstrated. Pres. Obama took the hardest and most riskiest steps, which were to get the system into the law, and get the system stood up in its first version. So far no one, in the history of the US had the courage or the willigness to take the risk. Much the same occurred in Canada, the pioneers of the Canadian system faced great numbers of nay sayers, with many of the same quasi negative contrarian arguments. The one thing, that is critical, is that the system must be easily modifyable and made better, so that it does not lock in components that over time can be made better, especially more affordable, to the users. Flexibility and ease of upgrade/update are key to making it more rapidly acceptable by even the greatest critics.

by: Dr. Quentin F. Bottomburp from: USA
April 01, 2014 11:13 AM
In May last year, Louisiana State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, the chair of the state Democratic Party, said that the reason Americans are upset over Obamacare is because President Obama is black. Liberals are also taking their lead from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who told the annual NAACP convention in Orlando, Fla. last summer that opponents of Obamacare share the same sentiment as opponents of civil rights in the 1960′s.

During a House Ways and Means Committee hearing in October last year, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. compared Obamacare opposition to the 1950′s Southern Manifesto which was in opposition to black integration. Ironically, 97 of the 99 politicians who signed the 1956 manifesto were Democrats.In November, Forbes’ Peter Ubel wrote a piece which asserted that it was “occasionally” racist to criticize Obamacare because the law helps blacks and Hispanics more than any other segment of the population. In January, the Huffington Post also published an article which claimed that opposition to Obamacare was “rooted in bigotry”.

The idea was taken to even greater depths of deliriousness back in December when MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry (who subsequently cracked a crass racist joke about Mitt Romney having a black baby in his family) equated ‘Obamacare’ with the N-word, suggesting that merely using the term itself (which Obama has on many occasions) is an act of racism.

By the same token, Hillarycare was anti-women and Reaganomics was anti-white. According to all these people and their enthusiastic cheerleaders, opposition to Obamacare has nothing to do with the fact the law creates vast new bureaucracies, at least 20 new taxes, places onerous demands on small businesses to cover employees’ health costs, raises prices for the average family and turns doctors into government spies – it’s all because of racism!

by: Dan Owens from: Tampa
March 31, 2014 4:22 PM
Whether or not you agree with it, doesn’t change the deadline. There are options out there, you just have to dig deep for them. It definitely helps to do your research. I found a lot of alternatives when I really started digging, including a great resource library through Health Plan Services that includes reform information, industry surveys and case studies. You can find it at: https://www.healthplan.com/content/resources/healthcare-reform-resources.aspx
In Response

by: Delusions from: USA
March 31, 2014 10:41 PM
Dan, you are DELUSIONAL, our country is now FASCIST and Obamacare was written by OFFSHORE BANKS, FACT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs