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

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf 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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs