Key healthcare provisions take effect as GOP moves into House

by
December 29, 2010

By Jason Millman -The Hill

Key parts of the new healthcare law will go into effect on Jan. 1, just before a Republican-controlled House returns to Washington.

The massive overhaul of healthcare approved by Congress earlier this year will begin to take effect in 2011, though some of the biggest changes prompted by the law — including the mandate that everyone buy insurance, the state insurance exchanges and subsidies to help most Americans buy insurance — don’t kick in until 2014.

Still, more than 20 provisions of the reform law go into effect in 2011, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation timeline.

Republicans taking over the House have vowed to repeal the healthcare law, though that will be difficult with President Obama still in the White House for at least two more years. Democrats also still hold a slim majority in the Senate.

As a result, Republicans under Speaker-designate John Boehner (Ohio) are expected to try to withhold funding for the new law, which could impede its implementations. Democrats, however, will fight any efforts at defunding the law aggressively.

Democrats frontloaded the law with a number of consumer-protection related provisions that they expect will boost support for the overhaul. Among the changes taking effect next year are provisions that could prove popular, including a requirement that healthcare plans provide rebates to customers who spend less than 80 percent of premiums on healthcare.

The so-called “donut hole” would also be narrowed, with Medicare beneficiaries receiving a discount on brand-name prescriptions.

Democrats have touted the healthcare law as the crowing achievement of the two years they were in charge of both Congress and the White House. In a note to supporters on Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden said 32 million people would have health insurance because of the law.

But the new law has been far from overwhelmingly popular. Polls show voters have mixed feelings at best, and Republicans running against healthcare won a huge victory in the midterm elections, crushing Democrats at the polls.

Here’s a complete list of the changes that will go into effect Jan. 1:

To read more, visit: http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/135287-numerous-reform-law-provisions-take-effect-jan-1

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