2010 Year in Review: 'Obamacare'
December 28th, 2010
11:47 AM ET

2010 Year in Review: 'Obamacare'

Editor’s note: This week, The Chart is taking a closer look at the most important health stories of 2010. Each day, we'll feature buzzwords and topics that came to the forefront over the past year.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Who could be against something with a name like that?

At times in 2010, it seemed the answer was “everyone.”

After overcoming Republican Senate opposition by just a single vote in December 2009, the president’s signature domestic effort – ridiculed as "Obamacare" by opponents – was nearly derailed a few weeks later. That’s when one of those opponents, Republican Scott Brown, won a special election to fill the Massachusetts Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy.

Cue another round of partisan maneuvering, with the spirit of World War I trench warfare. Brown’s election meant Republicans could block any proposed changes to the bill, frustrating liberals who already felt that the president had compromised too much. These Democrats complained that the bill didn’t offer most people an option to buy government insurance. Conservatives complained about, well, all of it. But faced with a take-it-or-leave-it choice, congressional Democrats chose “take it,” and in March the president’s signature made “Obamacare” a reality.

At 906 pages, the final version of the law is a smorgasbord. The main course – the Democratic dream of universal health care – won’t kick in until 2014. That’s when most employers will be required to provide insurance and individuals without coverage will be required to buy their own (although helped by generous government subsidies).

The first appetizers kicked in over the summer: Insurers were required to cover children with even chronic illnesses – “pre-existing medical conditions” – and people as old as 25 could sign on to their parents’ health care plans.

The battle over the fine print started right away. Some insurers found loopholes, while others dropped coverage for children altogether rather than meet the requirement to cover sick kids. Meanwhile, officials in 14 states – all Republicans – filed suit to try to stop the law from taking effect.

The opponents won a preliminary battle December 13, when a federal judge in Virginia ruled that the requirement to buy insurance, the so-called individual mandate, is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court is likely to have the final word.

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Beehive

    The only reason why some people are upset at this is the way this country is going about it. Instead of following the better models practiced in other countries, they will DESTROY this. Taking care of your citizen's health IS a right. Many third world countries even do this. We work incredibly hard here, pay through the butt in taxes and still get NOTHING in return.

    Its as simple as this: Unhealthy Citizens = Unhealthy Country.

    December 28, 2010 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Dee

    If anyone needed proof that Republicans were more for themselves and literally do not care about anyone else, this is proof.
    To actually go against a bill that would hurt millions of people, especially sick children dying from cancer and other illnesses because of inability to pay for health insurance is nothing short of demonic.

    December 28, 2010 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. **


    December 28, 2010 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Jack Howitzer
    I went to the doctor and signed up for Obamacare. It was great, they gave free Windows Phone's to everyone that signed up. Unfortuantely that was only in Seattle. Sorry East Coast Suckas.

    December 28, 2010 at 14:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Will

    Buy government approved insurance or be tackled by the IRS, sounds like a great dream. We can do better and we will once the garbage that is this law gets tossed in the incinerator of history.

    December 28, 2010 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. josephpatel

    If you currently have pre-existing conditions like me that have prevented you from being able to qualify for health insurance for at least six months you will have coverage options under new health care. Check "Wise Health Insurance" to find how to get quality insurance for dollars.

    December 29, 2010 at 02:53 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.