News

    Obama Faces High Stakes in Supreme Court Arguments on Health Care

    Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on legal challenges to President Obama’s signature health care reform law. The court’s ruling, expected in June, will be of immense importance to Americans and a president seeking re-election in November.

    President Obama signed health care reform into law in 2010 after prevailing in a year-long political struggle on an issue that defied bipartisan solutions for decades.

    Thirty million uninsured Americans gain access to coverage. Highly popular provisions prohibit denial of coverage based on pre-existing medical conditions, and allow children to remain on their parents' plans until they are 26.

    A recent opinion poll found that fewer Americans now believe their health care will worsen under the law.

    Polls also show that opposition to the law remains high.  

    Critics, such as Republican Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, who is a doctor, call it a big government approach that will drive up deficits and debt and lower the quality of care.

    “Patients I talk to want patient-centered health care," he said.  "They don’t want insurance company-centered or government-centered.”

    Supreme Court arguments will focus on a requirement that virtually all Americans buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a tax penalty.

    Key aspects and programs of the Affordable Care Act:

    • Adult children can remain on their parent’s insurance coverage through the age of 26.
    • An end to lifetime limits on the dollar value of benefits available to people with serious medical conditions.
    • Preventive healthcare benefits including free coverage for mammograms and birth control.
    • Medicare beneficiaries get a 50% discount on covered brand name drugs and 14% savings on generic drugs.
    • Insurance companies must justify unreasonably large healthcare premium increases.
    • Business with more than 200 employees must enroll their employees in health insurance programs or pay a penalty.
    • Businesses with 50 to 200 employees who work 30 hours or more a week must offer insurance or money to workers who want to get insurance elsewhere.
    • Businesses with less than 50 employees are exempt from coverage provisions.

    Opponents call this unconstitutional and want the law repealed.

    Scott Vavrinchik is a partner in a company in Chicago that provides kidney dialysis services, which the federal government normally pays for.

    “I think it is unconstitutional.  I think it is a freedom of choice [issue]," he said.  "Health care is not a right, it is a commodity.”

    Attorneys-general in 26 Republican-led states, filed suit against the health care law.  A Florida judge struck it down last year, though it has been upheld in other courts.

    Maron Soueid, a recent college graduate from New Jersey, believes arguments against the law won’t stand in the long run.

    “It has been difficult to find a job, and a job that will cover all of your health care, so this is definitely beneficial for a person like me,” Soueid said.

    The Obama administration points out the law's benefits.  On the president's re-election campaign web site a video highlights a family relying on it to care for a daughter with a heart condition.

    “I can’t even fathom what is going through the minds of people who want to repeal the health care act," the daughter's mother says in the video.  "They’re choosing life or death for many, many Americans.”

    Health care is a key issue in the 2012 presidential campaign as Mr. Obama seeks re-election and spars with Republican challengers.

    “Depending on what the Supreme Court rules, one side or the other could be particularly emboldened," said Henry Olsen, an analyst with the American Enterprise Institute.  "It also brings back the conversation to health care, which is not a good field for President Obama to be fighting on.”

    If the Supreme Court upholds the health care law, Mr. Obama could gain important momentum before the November presidential election.

    If the court strikes down major provisions, opponents will claim victory and argue that he mishandled his signature legislative achievement.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.