If there was one story that seemed to be constantly in the news in 2013 it was Obamacare.
Democrats made it part of the news cycle when they thought Obamacare benefited their party and Republicans made it an issue when they believed the political calculus was on their side.
But through all the noise, the program to give all Americans affordable healthcare did make important news in 2013. Here are the five most important takeaways from Obamacare this year.
5. States Decide To Accept Or Reject Medicaid Expansion
The 2012 Supreme Court ruling, which upheld the individual mandate, also allowed states to opt out of Medicaid. Though the federal government pays for almost the entire Medicaid expansion, a lot of Republican-led states decided to not expand Medicade. There were a handful of states with Republican governors that did expand Medicade, including Ohio, Arizona and New Jersey, whose governor Chris Christie is expected to run for president in 2016.
The video below from MSNBC talks about the people who suffer from not having Medicade expansion in their state.
4. Obamacare vs. Big Business
A number of business owners took some anti-Obamacare measures, most notably the pizza-chain Papa John’s, saying they will be forced to increase the price of their pizzas to cover Obamacare expenses. Walmart has talked about lowering employee hours to under 30 a week to avoid having to provide insurance. Same with one Denny’s franchise owner. The employer mandate doesn’t kick in until 2015, so that battle is still on the horizon.
3. The Government Shutdown
Remember why the government was shutdown for a couple weeks in October? It was because of Obamacare. Conservative members of Congress, including Texas senator Ted Cruz, demanded major changes to the health care law in return for keeping the government open. Below is video is Cruz speaking against Obamacare on senate floor.
President Obama and Democrats refused to negotiate over Obamacare and eventually Republicans relented, reopening the government and increasing the debt-ceiling without any significant changes to the health care law.
2. The Website Rollout Disaster
While Republicans were shutting down the government, Democrats weren't doing themselves any favor with the rollout of the Obamacare website.
The federal health care website, where individuals could by coverage, simply didn't work when it went live on Oct. 1. The site was slow, regularly crashed and few individuals could by coverage.
Though it was expected the health care law would have problems, Democrats didn't expect the scope of the issue. Republicans pounced the problems, saying this is what the warned all along — Obamacare won't work.
As the video below from CNN shows, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius received much the criticism.
1. The Website Recovers
With the administration making fixing the Obamacare website its No. 1 priority, the site did improve noticeably by December. Of the 1.1 million people who have signed up through the website, 1 million of them signed up in the year's final month.
Still, the future of Obamacare is not expected to be easy sailing from here on out. The good thing about the continuous Obamacare debate? Videos like the one below.