HARRISBURG—Today marks the one-year anniversary of President Obama signing the Healthcare Reform Bill into law. In the past year, the bill has drawn criticism and praise from Washington to Harrisburg and everywhere in between.
Healthcare reform has become a major divisive issue in state houses all across the country. Most Republicans fear the bill will drive the country and states further into debt. Many Democrats say something needed to be done and this is a first step.
"Prevention is being pushed and promoted across the country. That's a big change," said Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services.
"Half of America is saying, hey I don't want it to apply to me," said Senator John Barrasso, (R) Wyoming.
Much of the meat in the patient protection and affordable act is still to be implemented.
In its first year, the law mandated insurance companies can no longer deny coverage for children with preexisting conditions. It has allowed kids to stay on their parents insurance until they are 26 years-old and it eliminated deductibles or copays for preventive services like mammograms.
These are some of the more desirable affects of the bill. Critics say all of the changes will drive up the cost of healthcare for everyone.
"At the same time we put a huge number of new mandates on what the insurance has to cover and then tell people they're not going to have to pay anymore for it and we're already learning that's just.. It can't work," said Grace Marie-Turner of the Galen Institute.
The real tipping point will be 2014. Two major parts of the reform bill will go into effect. First, mandated insurance exchanges will begin. They are partially government funded insurance carriers that people and small businesses can tap into. Second, and even more controversial, will be the insurance mandate. By 2014, the bill mandates every single person in the country have insurance or face a penalty. Many hope the Supreme Court will intervene before it comes to that point.
"I think the court has to take that case it should take it sooner rather than later. Before people are hooked on this dole," said Senator Orrin Hatch, (R) Utah.
These topics, as well as other pieces of the reform bill, will be the hot topic at the State Capitol today. Governor Corbett, along with several Republican Representatives Joe Pitts and Glenn Thompson will be at the Capitol talking healthcare reform.
The hearing is set for 10 a.m. At the same time, counter protestors are expected to hold a rally showing their support for the bill.