While Congressional Republicans discuss plans to repeal the federal health-care reform law, Democrats and patient advocates say millions of people nationwide will suffer if they are successful.

"The new law is already helping Americans get the care they need, and it's established a new level of accountability for insurance companies," Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said yesterday during a conference call with reporters.

"Those are goals we've been talking about for years."

In the 10 months since health reform became law, several pieces have been put into place.

They include allowing parents to keep adult children on their policies until age 26, eliminating lifetime insurance caps and creating high-risk pools in which people with medical conditions can buy affordable insurance.

The law also gives tax credits to small businesses that provide health coverage to employees, requires insurers to cover the cost of preventive care, such as physicals and screenings, and allows states to review insurance-premium increases.

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