During his State of the Union address last night, President Obama described the Affordable Care Act “as part of the fabric of middle-class economic recovery.” Obama defended the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by pointing out its role in helping approximately 10 million Americans gain health coverage, significantly decreasing the level of uninsured Americans. For the first time in his presidency, Obama faces a Congress completely controlled by Republicans – a majority not too enthralled by his healthcare policy. Republican leaders are expected to find a way to “knock out” key pieces of the ACA, including the medical device tax and the mandate for employers to offer health insurance.
However, the most pressing issue will be King v. Burwell, a case before the U.S. Supreme Court that that challenges insurance subsidies in states that haven’t created their own exchanges. If the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, 9.3 million low-and-middle-income Americans could lose access to subsidies worth $28.8 billion in 2016. Obama also praised the efforts of U.S. healthcare workers in helping control the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa and proposed a new program called the Precision Medicine Initiative which aims to fight diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Furthermore, Obama promised to fix problems with healthcare delivery at the Veterans Health Administration.
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