The United States is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but despite our nation's wealth and prestige, it has long been unable to ensure one of the most basic human rights to its citizens: access to quality, affordable health care for all.
That's why the new health care law is good for America and its people. Before passage of this bill last March, millions of Americans were unable to afford health insurance. And for those who were fortunate enough to have coverage, costs were spiraling out of control. It was clear that we needed to aggressively reform our health care system.
With the new health care reform law, we are taking critical steps to lower health care costs for families and small businesses and ensure quality and affordable care for all Americans.
The law prohibits insurers from denying coverage for people with pre-existing conditions or cutting coverage once people get sick. It also prohibits insurers from imposing a cap on the total amount of benefits someone can receive over a lifetimea critical protection for those with medical conditions that require long-term, expensive care. Ultimately, the law will reduce the number of uninsured Americans by 32 million people.
A number of the law's provisions have already begun to take effect, including a requirement that young adults be allowed to remain on their parents' health-insurance plans until they turn 26.
In the coming years, as the law's provisions are fully implemented, we will see many benefits to American businesses and families. And most important, we will fulfill our nation's promise by ensuring that no one goes without health insurance because they can't afford it.
Senator Christopher J. Dodd
Democrat of Connecticut
Health care for all sounds good, and that's how the President tried to sell his health bill to the American people. But nothing in life is free. That's the fundamental problem with the health law and precisely why it's bad for America.
Health care is too expensive in our country. Each year it costs more and more, affecting families' already-tight budgets. One of the President's central promises was that the health care law would decrease costs. But several independent experts have concluded that the law will do just the opposite, increasing the cost of health care.
The President also promised that if you like your health coverage, you can keep it. But that may turn out to be untrue as well. Insurance premiums have gone up, leading companies that provide health insurance to their employees to scale back their coverage.
The law's mandate that employers provide health benefits is an unfair burden on small businessesand a drag on economic recovery. The added costs of providing coverage will make many unable to hire new workers.
And perhaps most important, for the first time in our history, the government can force people to buy insurance even if they don't want it. That's an astonishing expansion of federal power and busts the limits the Constitution imposes on the federal government. This is no small matterand that's why this law is being challenged in federal court by 22 states.
The bottom line is that the health care law isn't what the Obama administration promised: It's making our already-difficult fiscal situation worse, increasing health care costs, and jeopardizing the liberty our nation is built upon. Congress should repeal this law and start over.
Senator Orrin Hatch
Republican of Utah
(The New York Times Upfront, Vol. 143, December 13, 2010)