WASHINGTON — The future of health care reform loomed like a specter in a bitter campaign fought over the appropriate size and role of government. With President Obama touting his signature domestic achievement and Mitt Romney vowing to repeal it, the 2010 law symbolized the deep ideological divide in Congress and in the country.
Now, with Obama emerging victorious, Republicans failing to take the Senate, and the Supreme Court upholding the legality of the law, the debate around expanding health care to the uninsured is shifting from political posturing to the practical. States must meet their next deadline in just nine days.
“It’s a new ballgame now,” said Drew Altman, chief executive of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy group. “Certainly the window of opportunity for opponents to kill the Affordable Care Act is now largely closed. The story now will be about the details of implementation, and once the law is in place, there will be pressure to improve the benefits it provides.”
States face a Nov. 16 deadline to submit a blueprint to the federal government for an online portal that will make it easier for people to compare and purchase insurance plans. States could also partner with the government in creating such so-called exchanges, or allow the government to run it.
The Web portals are supposed to come online by October 2013 for enrollment to begin in January 2014, when the law is fully implemented.
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