HHS Secretary Sebelius to mark anniversary of 'Affordable Care Act' in St. Louis
WASHINGTON – Two years after the Affordable Care Act became law – and three days before the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments challenging it – Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is headed to St. Louis to defend it.
Sebelius is scheduled to take part in a “seniors’ health discussion” at 2:30 p.m., Mon., March 19 at the St. Louis Community College at Forest Park to argue that the law, known to detractors as “ObamaCare,” has strengthened Medicare for seniors.
The former Kansas governor, whose federal department is in charge of implementing the law, is expected to announce new data on savings from Medicare drug discounts. HHS officials say the new information strengthens the argument that seniors benefit.
“Secretary Sebelius will highlight how the law extends important benefits such as free preventive services, annual wellness visits that give seniors more time with their doctor and a 50 percent discount on prescription drugs for people with Medicare in the coverage gap known as the ‘doughnut hole’,” said an HHS statement.
The department argued that the health-care law “provides unprecedented fraud-fighting tools, cracks down on waste, fraud and abuse, and just last year returned $4.1 billion to the federal government.”
Detractors of the Affordable Care Act argue that its individual mandate – requiring everyone to have health insurance by 2014 – is unconstitutional. And they say the law would reduce federal spending on Medicare over the years. The Supreme Court will begin to hear oral arguments on March 26 on constitutional challenges to the law.