President Barack Obama spoke about the achievements of the Affordable Care Act, his highly controversial healthcare law which celebrated its fifth anniversary on Mar. 23.
“The Affordable Care Act has been the subject of more scrutiny, more rumor, more attempts to dismantle and undermine it than just about any law in recent history,” said the President. “It's time to embrace reality... five years later, it is succeeding – in fact, it’s working better than even many of its supporters expected.”
President Obama cited the positive statistics from the legislation, including the millions that have enrolled in the federal health exchanges, as well as the benefits for those who have pre-existing conditions and for millennials trying to find employment in the still tough job market.
The President said that more than 16 million Americans have enrolled in his law, eliminating one-third of all those who didn’t have insurance prior to the ACA.
He also referred to the still increasing costs of health care, albeit at a much slower pace than in years past.
“Health care prices have grown at their slowest rate in nearly 50 years since this law was passed,” he said.
The ACA has also allowed for parents to continue to support their children’s healthcare needs by increasing the age that children may remain on their parents’ plan, up to age 26.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) also released his own statement, condemning the law.
“It raided Medicare to finance more government spending; it led to cancelled health plans for many who’d been told they’d be able to keep what they had and liked; and now it’s causing even more headaches at tax time,” said McConnell.
Both parties have tried to defend and attack the Affordable Care Act with numerous facts and figures, likely confusing the average American. So far, there have been positives and negatives associated with the legislation.
Right now, 16.4 million Americans now have health insurance thanks to Obamacare. Another 2.3 million will continue to have insurance, as the legislation allows those up to age 26 to stay on their parents’ plan. Moreover, up to 24,000 lives will be saved under the Affordable Care Act, according to Time magazine.
For every positive figure that comes from the ACA, there’s a negative figure, as well. The law forces Americans to have health insurance and will punish those who don’t with a $325 fine. Despite promises that ObamaCare would not touch already existing health care plans, estimates say that nearly 6 million people have lost their private health insurance. The law itself will cost $2.63 trillion over the next decade, with just $1.38 trillion coming from new taxes and tax hikes (the remaining $1.25 trillion will be added on to the national debt, already at $18 trillion).
Despite numerous attempts to repeal the law, Republicans in Congress have never succeeded. Only the U.S. Supreme Court has been able to remove sections of the law, but ultimately upheld the entire legislation in a controversial 5-4 decision in June 2012.
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