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2010 Year in Review

U.S. News

Major U.S. news stories, from health-care reform to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"


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Arizona Immigration Law Pushes the Limit | Landmark Financial Regulation Bill | Midterm Elections | A New Era for U.S., Russia, and Nuclear Arms | The Official End to the War in Iraq | Passing the Buck on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" | Same-Sex Marriage Ban Temporarily Overturned in California | The Supreme Court: Personnel Changes & Major Decisions | Tea Party Victories

Health Care Reform: Years in the Making, Still Doesn't Satisfy

Reform Finally Passes
After many months of debate and many years of discussion, the House of Representatives in March passed a bill that they promised would overhaul the American health-care system. The final vote, 219-212, approved legislation passed by the Senate in December 2009. President Obama had announced that his ideal health-care reform bill would be very similar to the one passed by the Senate.

Among other new regulations, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act allows children to stay on their parents' health insurance plans until age 26, prevents insurance companies from denying coverage due to a patient's "pre-existing conditions," subsidizes private insurance for low- and middle-income Americans, and requires that all Americans have some sort of health insurance. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the law will reduce federal budget deficits by $143 billion over the next 10 years. The government plans to fund health-care reform with a tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans and a tax on the investment income of the wealthiest Americans. The act was nicknamed "Obamacare" by Republican detractors who believe the new law is too expensive and verges on socialism. Some Democrats felt the plan wasn't far-reaching enough. Most of the changes won't go into effect until 2014.

Questioning Constitutionality
In December, a federal judge from Virginia, Henry Hudson ruled that one of the main provision of the health-care form law is unconstitutional. The ruling claimed that under the Commerce Clause, a law requiring all Americans to hold health insurance, as the reform law states, is beyond the regulatory power of the federal government. The judge did not request that the implementation of the act be suspended, however. There are approximately two dozen lawsuits challenging the health care law; other judges who have ruled on the constitutionality of the act have found in favor of the President's plan.

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