Senate committee to highlight reform law's benefits

As House Republicans plan to expose what they call flaws in the new healthcare reform law, a key Senate committee announced Thursday afternoon plans to highlight the law's consumer protections.

Starting Jan. 27, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will host a series of hearings on how the reform law provides new benefits to consumers.

The first will examine how the law protects consumers against health insurers. The committee also will examine how the law requires insurers to be transparent about rates and spend at least 80 percent of premiums on healthcare services; benefits small business owners; reduces the deficit; increases quality of care; reduces waste, fraud and abuse; invests in prevention and wellness; provides portable insurance; and expands coverage.

House Republicans, including Energy and Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), have promised to shine a light on the law's weaknesses. They will vote next week to repeal the entire law, and the committees will work to find "common-sense" solutions to replace popular consumer protections included in the reform law.