Despite trying to ensure that all US citizens are covered by health insurance, it seems opponents of the health care reforms are having success.
The bill passed before the recent federal elections include a provision that all citizens must have insurance cover. The Government also included another provision that this will be subsidised for those families who are financially unable to afford it; insurance companies were also prevented from denying people with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes.
Angered by this, Republicans have been drawing the battle lines in an effort to get the law repealed. While 9 States have upheld the new law, other States are filing suits to have the law overturned as unconstitutional.
For instance, a federal judge in the State of Virginia ruled that the new provision was unconstitutional because he said the State had no power to force people to “engage in economic activity.”
However supporters of the new law are fighting back. The attorney general, Kamala Harris has managed to enlist the State of California and 8 other US States in defending the key provisions.
The group of 8 filed suits in the Federal appeals court in Cincinnati. Ms Harris and her Democratic colleagues argue that without the provision, millions of American with pre-existing conditions may well be denied access to medical coverage.
She told reporters: “If this [Republican backed] lawsuit succeeds, costs will rise, premiums will rise and health insurance companies will continue to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. [It is] essential because it requires us to make sure that all people have access to insurance.”
Some on the left in the Democratic Party have argued however that the provision to make people take out private health insurance (albeit Government subsidised) will only enrich the insurance companies.
Kamala Harris and her supporters are hoping other States will sign up to the cause before the suits go to the Supreme Court. It may be an uphill struggle though since 26 have signed up with the Republican opposition.