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OPINION

Health care message wars heat up on anniversary of law

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Two years after President Barack Obama signed health care reform legislation -- and with the U.S. Supreme Court about to consider a challenge from several states trying to overturn it -- supporters and opponents of the controversial law are gearing up for a message war like it's 2009.

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At that time, Democrats, emboldened by a new president and big gains in Congress, pushed sweeping legislation to expand coverage for uninsured Americans, clashing with Republicans who branded the bill "Obamacare" and warned it would trigger an unprecedented intrusion by Washington into people's medical decisions. Raucous crowds at town halls across the country that summer, many focusing on health care, captured the intensity of the debate. When Democrats muscled the final version of the bill through the House of Representatives in a late-night vote, not one Republican voted for it.

Obama signed his top legislative achievement into law on March 23, 2010, but by then the issue was already shaping up to be a central flashpoint in that year's midterm elections. That November, Democrats were tossed out of the majority in the House after voters elected a new class of 87 Republicans who campaigned on repealing "Obamacare."

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