Health Law At One Year: Future Still In Question

(Last Updated On: March 22, 2011)

One year after President Barack Obama signed his historic health care overhaul, the law is taking root in the land. Whether it bears lasting fruit is still in question.

The legislation established health insurance as a right and a responsibility. Thousands of families, businesses and seniors have benefited from its early provisions.

But worries about affordability and complexity point to problems ahead. And that’s assuming it withstands a make-or-break challenge to its constitutionality that the Supreme Court is expected to decide.

Public divisions over the law are still so sharp that Americans can’t even agree what to call it. Supporters call it the Affordable Care Act, a shorter form of its unwieldy official title. It’s also known as “Obamacare,” the epithet used by Republicans seeking its demise.

While Obama returns from Latin America on the signing anniversary Wednesday, administration officials will fan out across the country. Community commemorations started Monday, underscoring that the health care battle has moved to the states. Even states suing to nullify the law’s requirement that most Americans carry health insurance are proceeding with at least some of the building blocks.

Polls show that about one in eight people believe they have been personally helped already, well before the provision kicks in in 2014 to cover millions of uninsured. Interviews with people affected reveal it’s not always clear-cut.

The Washington Post

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