Thursday, April 17, 2014


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Washington bureau reporter Michael Scotto and Health Reporter Erin Billups examine at the effects of the federal Affordable Care Act in this six-part series.

NY1 Reports: Understanding The Affordable Care Act, Part 6

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More than three years since President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, Republicans are still trying to repeal it. Opposition to the health care law is expected to once again be a major talking point in next year's midterm elections. NY1's Michael Scotto filed the following report.

President Barack Obama wants Americans to know his health care law is hardly on life support. In his national address on the economy Wednesday, he said, "We're well on our way to fully implementing the Affordable Care Act."

Republicans, though, could not disagree more.

Rep. Mike Kelly, a Pennsylvania Republican, said on July 17, "This is unraveling before our very eyes."

In recent weeks, they have ratcheted up their attacks on the Affordable Care Act, seizing on the president's decision to delay the business mandate for one year.

Just last week, the House of Representatives voted for nearly the 40th time to scale back or repeal Obamacare.

Some Republicans are threatening to shut down government this fall if the law is not defunded.

The fight could grow worse next year, when congressional members are up for re-election.

"I think Obamacare is going to be the main themes of the 2014 elections. I think what we've seen since the bill has been passed is a dismantling of the bill," said Ian Prior of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The RNC is going after the law on the Internet and their allies are taking to television. An ad made by Americans For Prosperity says at one point, "Can I really trust the folks in Washington with my family's health care?"

Democrats are fighting back. An ad made by Organizing For Action says at one point, "The truth is, American are already seeing the benefits."

"We do not want to put insurance companies in the business of controlling one's health care," said Rep. Steve Israel, a Democrat who represents Long Island and Queens.

Recent polls show the public is still split on the law. But some political observers do not expect health care reform to play a big role in next year's elections, and predict it might actually become popular with voters.

"The Republicans have waged two election cycles on this. They picked up a lot of seats in 2010 running against the president and running against the health care bill. It didn't work in 2012, and it's going to work even less in 2014," says John Hudak of the Brookings Institution.

Still, Democrats in swing districts voted with Republicans on the latest efforts to delay the law. It's a sign that vulnerable lawmakers are not taking any chances.

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