- Elton John blasts Russia’s anti-gay laws during Moscow concert
- U.N.: Afghanistan slow to enforce law protecting women
- Heart cancels SeaWorld concert after ‘Blackfish’ documentary
- South Carolina sheriff refuses to lower American flag for Nelson Mandela
- South Africans hold day of prayer for Nelson Mandela
- Mandela not on life support in final hours, friend says
- Ukraine protesters topple, decapitate Lenin statue in Kiev
- Kim Jong-un’s uncle removed from North Korean state documentary
- Thailand crisis deepens as opposition quits Parliament
- Campbell Soup apologizes for SpaghettiOs’ Pearl Harbor tweet
Sebelius: ‘Help us speed up’ health care rollout
President Obama’s health care law is “here to stay,” but cannot fulfill its promise if states do not expand Medicaid and the uninsured do not take advantage of the benefits designed to put coverage within reach of millions more Americans, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday.
Addressing the National Health Policy Conference in downtown Washington, Mrs. Sebelius said the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 remains the “law of the land” after the Supreme Court upheld its key provisions in June and Mr. Obama won re-election in November, but several moving parts must sync up before the reforms can be fully effective.
“So my challenge to all of you today, and actually my plea to all of you … is help us speed up the rate of change,” she said.
The administration got a piece of welcome news Monday when Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican who has criticized the president’s health reforms, announced he will accept federal money to finance a Medicaid expansion in his state so that 365,000 poor Ohioans will have coverage in 2014 — setting up a potential clash with the Republican state legislature.
State lawmakers in some Republican-led states have said they fear they cannot afford the expansion, even though the federal government will pick up 100 percent of the tab for three years before scaling down its contribution to 90 percent by 2020. But Mr. Kasich joins Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and at least three other GOP governors in accepting the federal Medicaid funds offer from Washington.
Emphasizing the key tenets that led to the health care law’s passage, Mrs. Sebelius said affordable coverage for millions more Americans will result in a more efficient and cost-effective health care system.
“It’s good for all of us,” Mrs. Sebelius said. “We all benefit when our premiums are no longer inflated with tens of billions of dollars in added costs for uncompensated care.”
But Mr. Obama’s reforms have faced challenges at every turn, as debate over the contentious law’s implementation shifts to statehouses — many dominated by Republicans — across the country. Half the states have told the federal government to take responsibility for the insurance marketplaces, or “exchanges,” that will be set up in each state to allow consumers to buy insurance through tax credits from the government.
States are having an even harder time deciding whether to expand their Medicaid programs to cover those making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, after the Supreme Court made it an optional part of Mr. Obama’s law.
On Monday, Mrs. Sebelius urged states to take the money.
“The snapshot is, the states are being offered an incredible deal,” she said, “and I say that as a former governor who would’ve loved to have had this deal at any time from the federal government.”
Rep. Michael C. Burgess, Texas Republican, who also addressed the health conference on Monday, said federal agencies complicated the law’s rollout by waiting until the presidential election to outline how, exactly, it would be implemented.
“There was not a lot in the way of honesty coming out of the agencies prior to that special date in November,” said Mr. Burgess, a doctor who co-chairs the Congressional Health Caucus.
He said the Obama administration should have brought local leaders into the fold from the start of the policy-making process.
“All the anxiety you’re seeing play out now is because the governors were not included,” he said, adding it will be difficult for states to have their health exchanges ready by Oct. 1.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Obama admin.: One in 10 Obamacare forms might have errors
- Obama administration knew of key Obamacare delay in August, emails say
- House Speaker John Boehner: It took me 3 to 4 hours to sign up for Obamacare
- Young millennials shun Obamacare, creating risky imbalance
- Almost 1.5 million deemed eligible for Medicaid in October alone: Obama administration
Latest Blog Entries
- Calif.: Give 'gift of health' by pledging cash for the uninsured
- Tensions hit boiling point over Obamacare enrollment figures, error rates
- Young, uninsured adults vital to Obamacare are not keen on enrolling: New Harvard poll
- Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox will promote Obamacare at Mall of America
- HealthCare.gov employs a new look once again
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- CHELLANEY: China's game of chicken
- Sen. Rand Paul pushes 'economic freedom zones' for Detroit
- Obamas call to close Vatican embassy is 'slap in the face' to Roman Catholics
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Russian lawmaker wants to outlaw U.S. dollar, calls it a Ponzi scheme
- 'Dude, I'm dreading that I will have to go': Czech prime minister on Mandela funeral
- New Internet security challenge arises for cybercops
- Wife of Obama aide found dead in burning car in home's garage
- Congress creates a legislative fortress for military sex-assault policy
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Al Maurer provides a common sense, conservatarian, Constitutional conservative perspective from the battleground state of Colorado
Film Reviews and Articles by Kevin Williams
"Critical thinking is thinking about your thinking while you're thinking in order to make your thinking better." - Dr. Richard Paul
Go beyond tourism's "top 10" bus tour destinations with Susan McKee as she explores the varied history, culture, food, and gardens, of the world.
Let it snow
White House pets gone wild!