Saturday, May 25, 2024

Obama to Sign Health Care Reform into Law in Iowa

Today President Obama will travel to Iowa to sign the historic health care bill into law. Passage of the bill that passed with no Republican support will have an impact on all Americans including the one in three Latinos that are uninsured.

Republicans across the country are specifically challenging the mandate in the health care bill that requires every individual to have health insurance, saying that it is unconstitutional. Twelve state attorney generals who are all Republican have already filed law suits.

Senior White House adviser David Axelrod dismissed the lawsuits saying the Obama administration is very confident the health care bill “will withstand those legal challenges”.

Under the health care bill, most Americans by 2014 would be required to have health insurance or pay a fine, with the exception of low-income Americans. Employers would also be required to provide coverage to their workers, or pay $2,000 fine per worker.  Companies with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from this rule.

A separate package of changes also passed the House on Sunday and still needs to be approved by the Senate. Debate on the package cannot begin before Obama signs the underlying bill into law.

Senior Republicans in Congress warned that voters will judge Democrats harshly in November’s midterm elections. Senator John McCain of Arizona said that the Democratic-passed bill will stop any chance of bipartisan support on legislation for the rest of the year.

Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said “When this bill goes into effect, and none of the things Republicans warned about begin to happen — none of the death panels, none of the government takeover, none of the socialism — Republicans will have no credibility.”

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs challenged McCain and other Republicans to campaign for the November election against benefits of the health care bill such as tax credits for small businesses and an end to insurance company practices such as denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.

The overall $940 billion plan is projected to extend insurance coverage to roughly 32 million additional Americans.