Healthcare reform anniversary, U.S. split

March 23, 2011 at 4:00 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 23 (UPI) -- More than 20 U.S. healthcare-reform challenges are in federal courts on the law's first anniversary, with many challengers vowing to go to the Supreme Court.

"I'm sure there are a few folks out there who are doing their very best to rush headlong into the Supreme Court," Chris McDaniel, a conservative commentator and Republican Mississippi state senator leading a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act on behalf of Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant.

"It's just a matter of who gets up there with the best set of facts," McDaniel told Time magazine.

The law, which President Barack Obama signed after a year of partisan combat, promised to overhaul the nation's healthcare system and guarantee medical-insurance access to tens of millions of Americans.

No Republican voted for the final version. After the November 2010 elections, when the GOP took control of the U.S. House of Representatives and expanded its power in the Senate, Republicans vowed to put repeal of healthcare reform at the top of their agenda.

Democrats said they would use the fight to explain the law's benefits more clearly.

A year after the law's enactment, 53 percent of Americans say they're still confused about it, nearly the same portion as a year ago, a poll from the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation indicated.

About half of those polled say they don't have enough information to understand what the law will mean for them personally, the phone poll conducted March 8-13 indicated. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle, along with advocacy groups, planned events Wednesday to press their side of the argument.

On the pro-reform side, U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., planned to talk before the progressive public policy research and advocacy organization the Center for American Progress. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack planned a conference call with the press. Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh was to attend an event with faith leaders, The Hill reported.

Healthcare for America Now, a grassroots political coalition supporting the law, planned about three dozen pro-reform events across the country. Executive Director Ethan Rome told The Washington Post undermining the law had become a "near-psychotic obsession" for Republicans.

Among those still working against the reform legislation, U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, planned to discuss "the trust impact and cost" of healthcare reform with a small-business owner in his home state, The Hill said. Republican Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Republican Reps. Phil Gingrey, Tom Price and Rob Woodall, all of Georgia, planned to "reflect on the law at the state capitol building" in Atlanta, The Hill said.

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