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New York Times update on 'ailing' Obamacare might not be what you're expecting


The newspaper concedes the law must change.

(Getty Images/Joe Raedle)

President Barack Obama's prized health care law, known as "Obamacare," may not be as great as it was once touted. Instead, it may just be the "way station on the road to another, more stable" system, the New York Times wrote over the weekend.

According to the Times, both Democrats and Republicans are already looking for ways to alter the health care system established by the controversial law, forcing Obama and his Democratic Party to face the fact that the law will have to change if they want it to survive.

obamacarePresident Barack Obama speaks on health care at Faneuil Hall in Boston. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

"Mr. Obama’s signature domestic achievement will almost certainly have to change to survive," the Times wrote. "The two parties agree that for too many people, health plans in the individual insurance market are still too expensive and inaccessible."

But while both sides concede that the law must change, Republicans and Democrats disagree about the best method to move forward. According to the Times, Democrats believe more government will alleviate the problems, while Republicans believe the government should keep away.

More from the Times:

Seeing a lack of competition in many of the health law’s online insurance marketplaces, Hillary Clinton, President Obama and much of the Democratic Party are calling for more government, not less.

The departing president, the woman who seeks to replace him and nearly one-third of the Senate have endorsed a new government-sponsored health plan, the so-called public option, to give consumers an additional choice. A significant number of Democrats, for whom Senator Bernie Sanders spoke in the primaries, favor a single-payer arrangement, which could take the form of Medicare for all.

Donald J. Trump and Republicans in Congress would go in the direction of less government, reducing federal regulation and requirements so insurance would cost less and no-frills options could proliferate. Mr. Trump would, for example, encourage greater use of health savings accounts, allow insurance policies to be purchased across state lines and let people take tax deductions for insurance premium payments.

"Supporters of the public option warned that private insurance companies could not be trusted to provide reliable coverage or control costs," Richard Kirsch, a grassroots organizer, told the Times. "The shrinking number of health insurers is proof that these warnings were spot on."

Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, echoed Kirsch. "You need competition to make the exchanges successful," he told the newspaper. "A public option guarantees there’s competition in each and every exchange around the country."

However, most Republicans disagree. Tennessee GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander told the Times that the solution can be found when federal control of health care is eliminated.

"Obamacare exchanges are collapsing because of federal mandates and a lack of flexibility," he said. "We need to give states more flexibility and individuals more choices so more people can buy low-cost insurance."

As the problem continues to go unsolved, the issue of health care and where each presidential candidate stands on the issue remains a top concern for many Americans hitting voting booths Nov. 8.

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