It has been more than six months since President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but voters are still considering that legislation as they head to the polls today.
Reform's shadow hovers over midterms
“My guess is healthcare is part of an overall narrative of a referendum on the Obama presidency,” said Chip Kahn, president and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, adding that even though the current economy is a factor, voters are not just voting on 9.6% unemployment, but about the administration's response. “I think healthcare is wrapped up in that,” he added.
But Ron Pollack, executive director at Families USA, said that even though Republicans may have a good night tonight—a take-back of the U.S. House of Representatives is likely—most Americans support implementation of the health reform bill, and will not want to give up the benefits that come with it, such as expanded coverage, the right to challenge an insurance claim, and tax credits for middle-class families.
Elected officials “seeking to repeal would not only do harm,” Pollack said of the Affordable Care Act, “but would also do so at their political peril.”
Karen Ignagni of the Association of Health Insurance Plans said rising healthcare costs are a concern for purchasers, consumers and small businesses. One issue that should be addressed in the future, Ignagni said, is medical malpractice reform.
“I think they are hearing a message on the campaign trail,” Ignagni said about today's candidates, “that folks are concerned about affordability.”
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