The new healthcare law already is helping millions of people through tax breaks for small businesses and assistance for families with young adults, President Barack Obama said.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama promoted his top domestic priority, which passed Congress with no Republican votes and continues to stir strong emotions nationwide. He acknowledged that many provisions will not take effect for years. But he said others are doing some families good now.
Some 4 million small-business owners and organizations have been told of a possible healthcare tax cut this year, Obama said. On June 15, some older people with high prescription drug costs will receive $250 to help fill a gap in Medicare's pharmaceutical benefits. "Already we are seeing a healthcare system that holds insurance companies more accountable and gives consumers more control," the president said. His administration also is drafting a "patients' bill of rights" to give consumers information about their healthcare choices and rights, he said.
Republicans continue to attack the new law as too costly and ineffective. They vow to make it a major issue in the November congressional elections. A new Gallup poll found that the law's enactment has not lessened Americans' concerns about healthcare costs. The poll found that 61% worry about the costs of a serious illness or accident and 48% worry about normal healthcare costs.