Health Reform Weighed; Lawmakers Speak On Controversy

Posted: June 10, 2012 at 5:16 am


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WHEELING - The strength and fitness of a new health care reform law in America is on the examining table this month as the U.S. Supreme Court reviews its overall constitutionality.

On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. The measure mandates comprehensive health insurance reforms that roll out through the end of 2014.

The high court is expected to rule on its constitutionality later this month. At issue is one provision of the new law requiring all Americans to obtain health insurance - or face a penalty. The provision goes into effect at the start of 2014.

The court's ruling should result in one of three scenarios, according to Jim Forbes, spokesman for Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va.

First, the court could rule the entire bill unconstitutional. Second, the court could deem only the "insurance mandate" clause illegal, and keep the rest as it is. Lastly, justices could rule the entire measure is constitutional.

The law in its current form would decrease the federal deficit by $210 billion by 2021, according to figures compiled by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The new system is expected to cost $604 billion over the next decade, while also generating $813 billion in additional revenues attributed to new taxes and fees, according to the CBO.

And health care reform already is providing very real benefits to West Virginians, according to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

"In the last year alone, seniors have saved about $23 million on their prescription drug costs and 4,200 small businesses got a 75 percent discount on their premiums last December as a direct result of health reform," he said. "Consumers are better protected, seniors have more support and there are new tools to put the brakes on runaway health spending. Yes, controlling our spending is important, but we cannot shift that burden onto seniors and low-income West Virginians."

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, believes medical malpractice reform should be part of any health care system overhaul.

"Such common-sense reform would lessen the wasteful practice of defensive medicine, save the federal government billions of dollars and reduce health care costs passed on to employers," he noted.

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Health Reform Weighed; Lawmakers Speak On Controversy

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June 10th, 2012 at 5:16 am

Posted in Health and Fitness