KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Enzi, McDermott, Harkin, Nadler, Pelosi Make Their Arguments As Law Heads To Court

In a series of op-eds, several well-known politicians offer their views on the federal health law.

Roll Call: Enzi: Health Care Law's Legacy Is Broken Promises, Missed Opportunities
During the health care debate, my colleagues and I voiced concerns with how the new law could cause millions of Americans to pay higher health insurance premiums unless serious changes were made. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the law would increase health insurance premiums by $2,100 for families purchasing coverage on their own. These concerns were ignored, and Americans are now seeing their health insurance premiums increase. ... Instead of lowering the cost of health care for everyone, this law will actually drive struggling middle-class families deeper into debt (Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., 3/23).

Roll Call: McDermott: Health Care Overhaul Will Remedy Current System's Flaws
As a keen advocate of a single-payer health care system, I am perhaps an unlikely defender of the Affordable Care Act. But I support the ACA because it promises to remedy some of the most fundamental weaknesses in our current health care structure: It extends health coverage to 32 million presently uninsured Americans, and it emphasizes preventive care over costly crisis treatment. I believe the ACA is both workable and constitutional, worthy of validation by the Supreme Court and prompt implementation by the states (Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., 3/23).

Roll Call: Harkin: Law's Opponents Are Wrong On Policy, Wrong On Legal Merits
The law provides valuable benefits to American families: It will give 93 percent of Americans access to affordable health care coverage that can never be taken away; protect consumers against insurance company abuses; make unprecedented investments in prevention, wellness and quality of care; aggressively control runaway health care spending; lower health care costs for small businesses; and transform the health care delivery system to significantly improve the health of the American people (Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, 3/23).

Roll Call: Nadler: Individual Mandate Does Not Threaten Any American's Liberty
Critics of the law focus primarily on the minimum coverage requirement, or what they call the "individual mandate." This provision, which requires most people to purchase insurance or pay a penalty for failing to do so, helps all Americans by ensuring that coverage is available regardless of pre-existing conditions and by making the cost of health care and insurance premiums affordable (Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., 3/23).

San Francisco Chronicle: Affordable Care Act For A Healthier America
With the Affordable Care Act, we are making progress for our nation, and we are upholding what the late Sen. Ted Kennedy called "the character of our country." With health reform, our character has been strengthened by recognizing health care as a right for all, not a privilege for the few. And we will rebuild the pillars that have always kept our economy strong: small businesses, entrepreneurs and an all-inclusive and thriving middle class (Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., 3/23).  

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