Affordable Care Act

Consumer
8:51 am
Thu May 28, 2015

Economy, ACA Boosts Travel Nurse Demand

Cherisse Dillard, a labor and delivery room nurse, has been a traveler for nearly a decade.
Credit Courtesy of Cherisse Dillard

With her children grown and husband nearing retirement, Amy Reynolds was ready to leave behind snowy Flagstaff, Ariz., to travel but she wasn’t ready to give up her nursing career.

She didn’t have to.

For the past three years, Reynolds, 55, has been a travel nurse — working for about three months at a time at hospitals in California, Washington, Texas and Idaho, among other states. Her husband accompanies her on the assignments. “It’s been wonderful,” she said in May after starting a stint in Sacramento. “It’s given us a chance to try out other parts of the country.”

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Consumer
8:50 am
Tue May 26, 2015

'Ugly' Fallout Possible In Health Care Case

A Supreme Court ruling due in a few weeks could wipe out health insurance for millions of people covered by President Barack Obama's health care law. But it's Republicans — not White House officials — who have been talking about damage control.

A likely reason: Twenty-six of the 34 states that would be most affected by the ruling have Republican governors, and 22 of the 24 GOP Senate seats up in 2016 are in those states.

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Consumer
8:48 am
Tue May 26, 2015

Older, Uninsured Adults from 12 To 8 Percent

The health law’s expansion of Medicaid coverage to adults with incomes over the poverty line was key to reducing the uninsured rate among 50- to 64-year-olds from nearly 12 to 8 percent in 2014, according to a new analysis.

“Clearly most of the gains in coverage were in Medicaid or non-group coverage,” says study co-author Jane Sung, a senior strategic policy adviser at the AARP Public Policy Institute, which conducted the study with the Urban Institute.

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HNF Stories
8:55 am
Thu May 14, 2015

Pelosi: GOP Ruin On Health Care Case

Credit U.S. House of Representatives

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi predicted Wednesday that Republicans will "rue the day" if the Supreme Court buys their arguments and invalidates tax subsidies for millions of people under President Barack Obama's health care law.

Republicans have said they will try to ensure people don't lose insurance if the high court rules this summer against tax subsidies for health care coverage in certain states. But they haven't said how they would do it.

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HNF Stories
8:53 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Scott Takes Funding Fight Back to D.C.

Credit Associated Press

Just days after flying to Washington in hopes of convincing the Obama administration to extend federal hospital funds, Gov. Rick Scott was back in the nation's capital Tuesday slamming federal health officials for denying his request.

The administration wants the Florida governor to expand Medicaid to more than 800,000 Floridians, which it says is a more efficient use of federal funds than paying hospitals retroactively for caring for the uninsured.

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HNF Stories
9:01 am
Thu May 7, 2015

States Watching Standoff Between FL, Obama

Credit U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Obama administration rebuffed Florida's Gov. Rick Scott's proposal to extend federal funds for hospitals that treat the uninsured, increasing the pressure on states that have refused to expand coverage for low-income people under the president's health care law.

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Consumer
9:05 am
Thu April 30, 2015

GOP Plans for Supreme Court Subsidies Ruling

Congressional Republicans have yet to unite behind any of the growing number of proposals for responding to a Supreme Court ruling that could void federal subsidies that millions of people use to buy coverage under President Barack Obama's health care law. The decision is expected by June.

Those proposing plans include:

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HNF Stories
8:54 am
Wed April 8, 2015

Surgeon General Gets Rough Treatment in Senate

Credit University of South Florida

In another sign of growing tension about a Senate plan to expand health coverage for low-income Floridians, a Senate committee Tuesday tabled the confirmation of state Surgeon General John Armstrong after questioning him about the issue.

The move by the Senate Health Policy Committee came a day after Gov. Rick Scott --- Armstrong's boss --- opposed the plan to use federal money to provide health coverage to an estimated 800,000 Floridians through a private insurance system.

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Consumer
9:24 am
Tue March 24, 2015

On 5th Anniversary of Health Care Law, No End to Debate

Credit Megan Milanese

When President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act five years ago, he visualized a time when the political hyperbole would be silenced and ordinary people would see that the health care law improved their lives.

The White House ceremony on March 23, 2010, was an applause-filled celebration. "When I sign this bill," Obama said, "all of the overheated rhetoric over reform will finally confront the reality of reform."

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HNF Stories
10:19 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Delays Often Cost FL Federal Funds

USF Professor of Public Health Jay Wolfson
Credit USF Health News

When federal money’s on the table, most states go for it like coupon-clippers at a closeout sale.

But studies show that when it comes to seeking federal money, Florida holds back, particularly in health care. Sometimes, the state changes its mind later and asks for its share of the money, only to discover that it’s too late; other states have made off with it.

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Consumer
9:00 am
Wed March 18, 2015

FL No. 2 in National Uninsured Rate

Credit HealthCare.gov

Florida ranks No. 2 in the nation in the rate of residents without health insurance, but that figure has declined since 2010.

Figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday show that Florida had an uninsured rate of 24.3 percent in 2013. Only Texas had a higher rate at 24.8 percent.

The lowest rate was 4.3 percent in Massachusetts.

Despite the high ranking, Florida's uninsured rate has declined since 2010 when it was 25.3 percent.

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HNF Stories
6:54 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Health Expansion Moves On in Senate

Senate Healthy Policy Chair Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach
Credit Florida Senate

 Defending the possible acceptance of billions of dollars in federal money, a Senate panel Tuesday unanimously approved a plan that would extend health-care coverage to about 800,000 low-income Floridians.

The plan (SB 7044), backed by the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, appears to be moving quickly in the Senate. But House Republican leaders, who for the past two years have flatly rejected accepting federal money to expand coverage through Medicaid or another program, have given no indication they will go along with the Senate.

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HNF Stories
10:26 am
Sun March 15, 2015

Tax-Time Enrollment Extension Under Way

Extra enrollment time is under way on HealthCare.gov in Florida and the 36 other states that use the federal health insurance marketplace.
HealthCare.gov

Several million Americans hit with new federal fines for going without health insurance are getting a second chance to sign up, and that could ease the sting of rising penalties for being uninsured.

But as the enrollment window reopened on Sunday in Florida and the 36 other states that use the federal health insurance marketplace at HealthCare.gov, it’s unclear how many know about the time-limited opportunity, let alone will take advantage of it.

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Consumer
8:52 am
Wed March 11, 2015

Florida Has Most to Lose in Subsidy Case

Credit HealthCare.gov

Nearly 8 million people could lose up to $24 billion a year in health insurance subsidies in a Supreme Court case threatening President Barack Obama's law, according to a government report released Tuesday.

The estimates by The Associated Press show what's at stake in the case. The biggest potential loser would be Florida, with nearly 1.5 million residents getting an average of $294 a month. That works to $440 million a month currently, or up to $5.2 billion a year for the state. The subsidies are delivered in the form of tax credits.

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Consumer
8:52 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Boss May Be Able To Force You To Buy Insurance

Under the health law, large employers that don’t offer their full-time workers comprehensive, affordable health insurance face a fine. But some employers are taking it a step further and requiring workers to buy the company insurance, whether they want it or not. Many workers may have no choice but to comply.

Some workers are not pleased. One disgruntled reader wrote to Kaiser Health News: “My employer is requiring me to purchase health insurance and is automatically taking the premium out of my paycheck even though I don’t want to sign up for health insurance. Is this legal?”

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HNF Stories
8:57 am
Wed March 4, 2015

No Medicaid Expansion? No Problem For Many Safety-Net Hospital Profits

Hospitals that treat many poor and uninsured patients were expected to face tough financial times in states that did not expand Medicaid under the federal law known as Obamacare.

That’s because they would get less Medicare and Medicaid funding under the Affordable Care Act, while still having to provide high levels of charity care.

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Consumer
8:58 am
Tue March 3, 2015

GOP Has Plan If Health Subsidies Lost

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin
Credit U.S. House of Representatives

Congressional Republicans sent a message Monday that they hope the Supreme Court and voters will hear: They have ideas to keep the country's health care system from crumbling if the justices obliterate a bedrock feature of President Barack Obama's heath care law.

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Consumer
7:57 am
Tue March 3, 2015

What King v. Burwell Really Means

The U.S. Supreme Court this week hears a challenge to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. If successful, the lawsuit would cripple Obama's prized domestic achievement, a program that has brought the U.S. as close as it has ever come to universal health care.

The Affordable Care Act passed Congress in 2010 without a single Republican vote in favor.

An explanation of the legal case:

Four Words Determine the Law's Future

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Health News Florida
8:46 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Get Waiver, Avoid ACA: Former Health Czar

Alan Levine
Credit hma.com

Alan Levine, a favorite health policy wonk among Republicans, is offering some advice to the Florida Legislature: exercise a waiver, and get around much of the Affordable Care Act, Florida Politics reports. 

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Health News Florida
8:38 am
Mon March 2, 2015

FL Docs: HealthCare.gov Patients Misinformed

Credit healthcare.gov

  Doctors treating patients with Obamacare plans are encountering a lot of consumer misinformation, increased paperwork, heavier patients loads and the worry of unreliable reimbursements and payments, the Miami Herald reports.

South Florida doctors say they’ve had to turn away patients with HealthCare.gov plans to avoid these problems or have lost patients because of their misunderstanding of co-pays and deductibles, the Herald reports.

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HNF Stories
12:01 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Billions at Stake as State, Feds Negotiate Medicaid

Wikimedia Commons

When the 2015 legislative session begins next week, many of the state’s decisions on health care for the poor are on hold as state and federal Medicaid officials negotiate over funding, behind closed doors. Billions of dollars are at stake.

When it comes to health-care funding, Florida’s in a funny position. The state has twice turned down billions of dollars from federal Medicaid that would have covered care for about a million poor Floridians.

This year may be no different.

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HNF Stories
12:01 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Rep. Hudson on Medicaid Expansion: No!

Rep. Matt Hudson
Credit Florida Legislature

Florida business groups, insurers, and hospitals are pushing state officials to accept billions of dollars in federal funds to cover the low-income uninsured.

But when the 2015 legislative session opens next Tuesday, this impressive coalition will run into Rep. Matt Hudson, a Naples Republican who chairs the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee.

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HNF Stories
6:31 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Last Weekend to Enroll on HealthCare.gov

Ahead of the Sunday deadline to sign up for insurance on HealthCare.gov, the latest enrollment numbers show that close to 1.4 million people in Florida have signed up. That's more than any other state that uses the federal marketplace.

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HNF Stories
7:22 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Miami's Importance To Obamacare

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 4:46 pm

South Florida is home to the highest number of people signing up for Obamacare.

With just one week before the open enrollment period ends, more than 660,000 people in South Florida have gotten health insurance plans through Healthcare.gov.

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Consumer
1:24 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

Experts See Need to Improve, Simplify ACA

Credit Kaiser Health News

“Repeal and replace” has been the rallying cry for Republicans since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010. But now that most of the law’s provisions have taken effect, some health experts are pitching ways to improve it, rather than eliminate it.

An ideologically diverse panel at the National Health Policy Conference Monday presented somewhat different lists of ideas to make the law work better. But they all agreed on one thing: The Affordable Care Act is too complicated.

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Health News Florida
9:14 am
Mon February 9, 2015

Health Choices Struggles With Enrollment

Rose Naff, CEO of Florida Health Choices

The state-run health insurance marketplace Florida Health Choices has enrolled just 66 people despite spending $75,000 on outreach efforts, the Palm Beach Post reports. 

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HNF Stories
7:56 am
Sat February 7, 2015

In Puerto Rico, Health Overhaul Gets An Incomplete

Javier Villa (right) with his wife and son in their home in Puerto Rico.
Anders Kelto/NPR

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 11:41 am

Javier Villa has worked at his family's used car dealership in San Juan, Puerto Rico, ever since he finished high school.

Villa, 35, always assumed the insurance plan he had through work would take care of him and his family. But a couple years ago, he ran into a problem.

He was taking a shower one morning when he noticed a lump on the side of his throat. "Very big, like maybe a tennis ball," he says.

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HNF Stories
8:54 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Birth Control Exemption Clarified

Credit Wikimedia Commons

A judge in Florida has clarified the steps organizations must take to get exemptions to the birth control mandate required under the Affordable Care Act.

The federal judge in Fort Myers on Tuesday granted an injunction to the Christian and Missionary Alliance Foundation, allowing them to stop paying for contraception in their plan.

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HNF Stories
8:51 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Florida HealthCare.gov Tally Tops 1.3M

More than 1.3 million Floridians have signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace so far under the Affordable Care Act.

Federal health officials said Wednesday that about 57 percent are part of the nearly 1 million who are re-enrolling and 43 percent selected a plan for the first time. About 32 percent were under the age of 35.

The second enrollment period started in November and ends Feb. 15. Consumers can sign up in person, call the government hotline or go online. Those who don't sign up during that time may have to wait until next year.

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Consumer
8:55 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Medical Device Tax Repeal No Slam Dunk

It flew through the Republican-run House in 2012, and a year later 79 of the Democratic-led Senate's 100 members embraced it. With Republicans now controlling both chambers of Congress, the chances for repealing the 2.3 percent tax on medical devices are better than ever.

Yet abolishing the tax won't be easy, even though Republicans rank it a top priority and are backed by Democrats from states that rely on the industry for jobs.

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