Health Care Reform Divides United States

By: Susan Harris - Staff Writer
Published: Mar 21, 2021

A year after President Barack Obama signed his health care overhaul, the law remains so divisive that Americans can’t even agree on what to call it. Even so, it is taking root in the land.

Whether it grows is another matter.

Polls show that about 1 in 8 Americans believe they have been personally helped already, well before the main push to cover the uninsured scheduled for 2014.

Still, issues of affordability and complexity guarantee ongoing problems, even if the Supreme Court upholds the landmark legislation that made health insurance both a right and a responsibility.

Supporters call it the Affordable Care Act, a shortened version of the official title Democrats gave their massive bill. It may be better known as “Obamacare,” the epithet used by Republicans seeking its demise.

While Obama returns from Latin America on the signing anniversary Wednesday, administration officials will fan out across the country. Community commemorations that start Monday come as the health care battle moves to the states. Even states suing to nullify the law’s requirement that most Americans carry health insurance are proceeding with building blocks of the new system.

Families, small businesses and seniors are starting to feel the impact of dozens of insurance changes already in place. Interviews with people affected reveal it’s not always clear-cut.

In small-town Circleville, N.Y., Patti Schley says the law has made a dramatic difference.

Her daughter Megan, 23, was out of college, going without insurance as she tried to launch a wedding photography business. Last summer Megan started getting sick and rapidly lost weight. Doctors diagnosed a serious digestive system disorder that would make her uninsurable.


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