President Barack Obama signed the sweeping Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010. Since then, the law has withstood various legal assaults, including one leading to a landmark U.S. Supreme opinion affirming the law's constitutionality.+ read more
The law is essentially a framework for revamping the nation's health care system over a decade. When fully implemented the changes are intended to expand health insurance coverage to 25 million additional Americans (down from an earlier estimate of more than 30 million); help consumers better understand and compare health insurance options; require insurers to cover pre-existing medical conditions and spend at least 80 percent of their premium dollars on health care; help fill a gap in prescription drug coverage for seniors.
The law continues to draw fire from critics who argue it does little to control the soaring costs of health care, tramples religious freedom by requiring most employers to provide coverage for birth control, infringes individual freedom by requiring the vast majority of Americans to enroll in a health plan, and burdens employers with onerous red tape.
Elizabeth Stawicki, JD, covers health care reform for MPR News. Her reporting often appears nationally as part of collaboration between MPR/Kaiser Health News/NPR called, "Health Care in the States."
Catharine Richert covers politics and health care for MPR News, and writes PoliGraph, a fact-checking feature that gets behind the spin in Minnesota politics.