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Both sides try to score political points on health law

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Health care debate

Both sides try to score political points on health law

NPR: Democrats and Republicans are continuing efforts to use the health reform law to their advantage as the American public sorts outs its feelings on the subject. "The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is trying to get Republicans on the record about repeal. And Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the head of the Democrats' House campaign committee, is happy to talk about his opponents' position. 'The No. 1 priority of the Republicans going into this election is to repeal health care reform altogether and essentially hand the keys to the health care system back over to the insurance industry,' he says. 'I think that this Republican strategy of "let's repeal health care reform" is a failed strategy,' [Van Hollen said]. But Republicans don't think so. And they're not backing off." Many Republicans are running campaigns on the repeal platform, as Democrats, who are saying that a repeal effort would just restore the status quo of a broken health care system (Liasson, 6/14).

But NPR reports in a separate story on a challenge for Democrats: still rising health care costs. "'The Democrats have guaranteed that the American health care system is going to be affordable. They put it in the title of their bill,' health policy analyst Bob Laszewski said. 'So everything that happens after March 23, 2010 [the day President Obama signed the measure] is theirs. They own it.'" Many benefits of the law won't happen for another three years, and "[w]hat makes Democrats more immediately vulnerable is what's going to happen to people's health insurance costs next year. They're going up." A report from PricewaterhouseCoopers says that medical inflation will increase by 9 percent next year (Rovner, 6/15).

Kaiser Health News provides more detailed coverage of the report.

Roll Call: Republicans are seizing on the opportunity to tell the American public that they will lose coverage. "Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on Monday sent President Barack Obama a letter criticizing the new health care law, charging that it will result in millions of Americans losing coverage." Hatch made his comments as the Obama administration issued new regulations governing the treatment of health plans that already exist. (See also KHN's summary of the coverage of the new regs.) "'The impact of your Administration's new regulations governing the treatment of existing health plans is deeply disturbing. As a direct result of these new rules, 87 million Americans — or 51 percent of those with employer-provided health care — will be forced out of their current coverage, with small businesses being the most adversely impacted,' Hatch wrote." The Obama administration has insisted that people will be able to keep their plans (Drucker, 6/14).

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent news service. It is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health-care-policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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