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White House touts the record of health care reform

White House touts the record of health care reform

As a crucial U.S. Supreme Court decision draws nearer, the Obama administration is touting the successes of the health care reform law.

The successes of the Affordable Care Act, the White House said in fact sheet distributed Tuesday, include:

• A big reduction in the number of uninsured. A recent Gallup survey, the White House noted, found that the nation's uninsured rate was 11.9% during the first quarter of 2015, a steep fall from 17.1% in 2013.

• Premium subsidies for the lower-income uninsured to use to offset health insurance premiums. Currently, those subsides are being used by 8.7 million people, the White House said.

• Establishment of a system of state and federal health insurance exchanges through which 10.2 million people are receiving coverage.

• Elimination of annual and lifetime dollar limits in health insurance plans and establishment of annual limits on the out-of-pocket expenses plan enrollees can be required to pay.

• Establishment of first-dollar coverage for preventive services, such as immunizations.

“There are outcomes we can calculate — the number of newly insured families, the number of lives saved. And those numbers add up to success,” President Barack Obama said in a speech Tuesday in Washington before the Catholic Health Association.

But that praise of the health care reform law could later be muted, depending on the outcome of a Supreme Court ruling.

At issue before the court is the legality of 2012 IRS rules authorizing federal premium subsidies to eligible individuals obtaining coverage in the federal exchange. Plaintiffs contend that the ACA only permits the subsidies in exchanges set up by states.

An earlier Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found that 6.4 million people nationally would lose federal subsidies collectively worth $1.7 billion per month if the Supreme Court strikes down the IRS rules and limits the subsidies for coverage in the state exchanges.

The high court is expected to hand down its decision by the end of June.

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