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As Health Care Reform Turns 1, Backers and Detractors Dig In
Date:3/23/2011

le are naturally leery of change, but in time they will view the Affordable Care Act the same way they view Medicare and Social Security, two programs now considered untouchable by most Americans. "But we aren't there yet," she said.

But Scandlen -- who finds the scope of the law "breathtaking, every citizen is affected by it, unlike Social Security or Medicare" -- denounces the legislation as a "federal takeover of the health insurance industry." He said it would be impossible to pick out the few parts of the law that are worthwhile before scrapping the rest.

Among his targets of criticism: the individual mandate, and the way waivers or exceptions for the law are being handed out "on a whim" by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius.

One part of the law that Scandlen likes is having the government subsidize low-income people to help them buy health insurance. "Only the federal government had the resources to make that happen," he said.

He also supports the beefing up of Medicaid, the insurance program for lower-income Americans. "There is a portion of the population that can't handle any kind of insurance contract. They're dysfunctional, illiterate, they can't read a contract, they have bad impulse control, they can't plan ahead. That is a significant problem. They need direct provision of services like free clinics," he said.

Scandlen believes there's a small window to repeal or change the law, adding that, when the law is fully enacted in 2014, it will be too late.

"But at some point it will have to be changed, because it is going to collapse. They are building a structure that cannot be sustained," he said.

More information

For more on the Affordable Care Act, visit HealthCare.gov.

SOURCES: Kathleen D. Stoll, director, Health Policy, Families USA, Washington, D.C.; Greg Scandl
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