The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday March 20th

One year later, health care reform challenged

U.S. split on whether reform is bene?cial

One year after President Barack Obama signed health care reform into law, citizens and legislators are assessing the effects of the monumental legislation.

Signed into law March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act made sweeping changes, focusing on the reform of private health insurers, expansion of coverage and improving prescription drug accessibility.

But the law is still facing opposition.

Thirty-eight states are currently challenging aspects of the law, and countless lawsuits against it are filtering through the court system.

A Republican-led N.C. General Assembly passed a bill earlier this month that rejected parts of the federal health care reform. Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat, vetoed the bill on March 5.

Many state legislatures have bucked against health care reform, Republicans in U.S. Congress have promised to repeal it and national public polling trends show the number of those against the reform is on the rise.

Recent Gallup poll results show that 46 percent of those surveyed believe the reform is a “good thing” — down from the March 2010 approval rating of 49 percent.

Those who find the law detrimental have increased from last year’s 40 percent to 44 percent.

In a press conference Wednesday at Piedmont Health Services, a community health center in Carrboro, Rep. David Price, D-N.C., extolled the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, but reminded everyone of the work that still needs to be done.

“We need to be prepared to confront those who are trying to appeal this law — like House Republicans in their first legislative venture — or try to repeal it piece by piece through funding, like they are trying now,” Price said.

Dr. Garth Graham, U.S. deputy assistant secretary for minority health, told the 25 people who attended the event why he supports the reform.

“Folks in Congress fight a very hard fight to make very hard decisions to get people the care they need,” Graham said.

“It is a great day in terms of what we have achieved, but there is still much to look forward to.”

GOP leaders in the U.S. House are still working up a replacement for “Obamacare,” McClatchy-Tribune News Services reported.

“We don’t accept the status quo,” Rep. Tom Price of Georgia said on Wednesday. “There are a lot of things that need to be improved upon.”

Featured in the press conference in Carrboro was also a live-streamed speech by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

“We’re trying to get Americans the care they deserve. That’s the underlying feature of the Affordable Care Act,” Sebelius said. “We’re looking out for the 41 million uninsured.”

Graham said health care reform is polarizing, and this is not lost on those leading the fight on both sides.

“These are conversations not for the faint of heart,” he said. “They are those for the leaders of this country.”

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