AC Alert for November 22, 2011 Huge Questions Persist on Health Care

Nov 23, 2011 10:00 AM ET

AC Alert for November 22, 2011 Huge Questions Persist on Health Care

 The life expectancy of the 1,500 page Health Care Reform Law signed by President Barack Obama in 2010 remains a major “open” question in America today. During the past week, we learned that the US Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments next spring on whether the health care law is constitutional, with a decision likely before the 2012 Presidential elections.

Meanwhile, many of the potential Republican Presidential challengers have made “repeal Obamacare” a major element of their platforms. However, simply repealing the law, if that is indeed the will of the electorate and their representatives, will by no means be an easy task.

Consider this report from Associated Press which was distributed to thousands of media outlets:  “The case against the law comes with a dose of myth-making that may raise false hopes among voters who wish it could, in fact, simply go ‘poof.’ If the overhaul is to fall, it won't happen overnight with a new GOP administration. Any dismantling promises to be just as much of a slog as was its creation. All place the law's repeal as a chief component of their plans to grow the economy and jobs, rightly noting the overhaul's myriad regulations but overselling the ability of one act of legislative subtraction to lift all boats.”

The health law sets out an onerous process for letting individual states off the hook from its requirements, and that process cannot begin until 2017. For a state to be granted a waiver, it must show that it will provide coverage that is at least as comprehensive and affordable as under the federal law. Also, a state has to insure a comparable number of its residents, and its plan must not add to the federal deficit by shifting costs to Washington.  (Source: Associated Press)

So, with the Supreme Court poised to rule on the new law next year, states examining their positions in the debate (and their options, which seem limited), and elected officials from both sides of the aisle staking out their positions, we still have more questions than answers.

Years ago as this issue was beginning to percolate, your AC editors created a Hot Topic Section -"Health Care Reform Dialogue". Our goal was to provide a clearinghouse and repository for the latest information on the healthcare reform debate. Here are some recent excerpts:

Health Law Puts Focus on Limits of Federal Power
(Source: New York Times) If the federal government can require people to purchase health insurance, what else can it force them to do? More to the point, what can’t the government compel citizens to do? Those questions are likely to emerge as the Supreme Court has agreed to be the final arbiter of the challenge to President Obama’s signature health care initiative.

Poll Shows More Americans Favor Repealing Healthcare Reform Law
(Source: RTT News) The results of a recent Gallup poll show that pluralities of Americans favor repealing the controversial legislation. The poll found that 47 percent of Americans think that the healthcare reform should be repealed, while 42 percent said the law should be kept in place. Another 11 percent had no opinion.

Healthcare reform law’s backers hope to reclaim 'ObamaCare' label
(Source: The Hill) Supporters of the healthcare reform law have launched a new campaign to reclaim the term “ObamaCare” and highlight the law’s benefits. Two Colorado-based groups created the website “thanks Obamacare,” which outlines provisions such as the ban on insurers discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions. There’s also a “thanks, Obamacare” Twitter account.

On Tour Now: The Balancing Act at the Center of Healthcare Reform
(Source: Time) Many Americans appear to be losing interest in health reform, just as one of the most important open questions: What “essential services” must all insurance plans cover?  This will be answered before the year is up.

Obama offers $1 billion to increase health care workforce
(Source: USA Today) The Obama Administration has unveiled a $1 billion grant program that gives priority to organizations that hire, train and deploy new health care workers. The Health Care Innovation Challenge is designed to find the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health, improved care and lower costs to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Wal-Mart considers expanding healthcare services at its clinics
(Source: Los Angeles Times) Retail giant Wal-Mart is exploring ways to expand the kinds of healthcare services it offers at dozens of stores across the country, potentially setting the stage to turn the nation's largest retailer into a major primary care service provider and drive down costs for millions of Americans.




Healthcare Reform: Future Employer Responsibilities and Considerations
(Source: HR Health Care Reform Expert Ed Bray offers some compelling thoughts regarding future employer responsibilities in conjunction with healthcare reform. The nation remains engaged in one of the most heated and emotional government public policy debates – among the many issues that are the subject of debates, dialogues and conversations.


Across the political spectrum, liberals, conservatives, moderates, independents, Democrats and Republicans have all staked out their positions to support their side of the argument in favor or against the current system. Unfortunately, the debate is leading to more questions rather than answers.  The editors of Accountability Central are focused on bringing our readers all sides of the issue by presenting the words, opinions and research of some of the best minds and institutions in the nation -- well identified and well-balanced.  Fresh information is added daily to our Hot Topic on Health Care Reform. We invite you to visit often.

This is just a sampling of the information in our Alert. Go here for the full text of this alert, and more information on Sustainability, and other Accountability related topics.