Democrats, Republicans still clash over Affordable Care Act

Many unresolved issues remain as the first enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act ends at midnight Monday, reports the Washington Post. Conflict continues regarding fines and penalties for those who do not sign up for coverage, whether certain states will expand Medicaid, and if federal courts will make future changes to the law.

With midterm elections right around the corner--which will decide whether the GOP takes control of the Senate--Republicans continue to use the healthcare reform law to attack Democrats. GOP opposition began back in March 2010, when 13 Republican state attorneys general filed a federal lawsuit against the overhaul, reported Think Progress

In January, three Republican senators introduced The Patient Choice, Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment Act (CARE), which would revoke the ACA's individual and employer mandates, cancel Medicaid expansion, lower tax credits for buying insurance, and eliminate ACA-related taxes and fees.

If the GOP does win control of the Senate, and subsequently the White House in 2016, the healthcare law could get dismantled, according to the Washington Post.

Despite political opposition, a Pew Research Center poll in March found opponents of the healthcare law would rather see elected officials try to make it work rather than see the law fail, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Moreover, the Republicans' strong opposition to the healthcare law has appalled former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Louis W. Sullivan (R), reports the Center for Public Integrity.

"Many of the features of the Affordable Care Act are part of what we proposed back in 1991," Sullivan told the Center for Public Integrity. That proposal included requiring Americans to enroll in a private health insurance plan if they are not eligible for a government program like Medicare or Medicaid. "If they were supportive of it then, why are they so opposed to it now?" he asked.

For more:
- here's the Washington Post article
- read the Center for Public Integrity piece
- check out the Think Progress  timeline

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