Affordable Care Act

Margaret Leatherwood has eight choices for health insurance next year but no good options.

Sen. Susan Collins, the Maine Republican whose vote was pivotal in pushing the GOP tax bill forward last week, thought she had a deal to bolster health care protections in exchange for her support.

But it's now unclear whether her strategy to shore up part of the Affordable Care Act will prevail or that it would produce the results she anticipates.

Health insurance a la carte?

When Monica Spalding got the renewal letter from her health insurance company with premium details for the upcoming year, she couldn't believe her eyes. The insurer estimated that the share of the monthly premium that she and her husband would owe for their marketplace silver plan would go up from the current $28 a month to $545.

Having failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Congress is now working on a tax overhaul. But it turns out the tax bills in the House and Senate also aim to reshape health care.

Here are five ways the tax legislation could change health policy:

1. Repeal the requirement for most people to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty

This year is six weeks shorter than last year.

Not on the calendar, or course, but there are six fewer weeks this year for people getting their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act -- otherwise known as Obamacare or ACA-- to sign up for 2018.

The White House says it's willing to strike a health-care provision from Senate legislation to cut taxes and overhaul the tax code if the provision becomes an impediment to passing one of President Donald Trump's top legislative priorities.

Lee Nathans, like insurance brokers in many states, expects to be crazy busy for the next several weeks, fielding calls from “people who are not going to be happy.”

healthcare.gov

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, begins in less than a week.

Updated at 4:06 p.m. ET

A proposal in the Senate to help stabilize Affordable Care Act marketplaces would ensure that subsidies paid to insurance companies benefit consumers rather than padding the companies' profits.

The reaction has been swift since President Trump announced late Thursday that he was cutting off Affordable Care Act subsidies to insurance companies.

The White House argues that the payments are illegal.

President Trump is poised to sign an executive order that he says will make it easier for people to join together as a group and buy health insurance from any state.

The president tweeted about his plans on Tuesday morning.

"Since Congress can't get its act together on HealthCare, I will be using the power of the pen to give great HealthCare to many people — FAST," he wrote.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

WMFE

Companies offering insurance on Florida’s health care marketplace are increasing individual premiums by $208 dollars a month on average next year.

Open enrollment for 2018 health coverage begins in about one month, but as happened last year, rumors have already begun circulating about astronomical premium increases.

Most Floridians never saw their deductibles go up as projected last year, and several saw them actually decrease in spite of the frightening headlines. That’s because most of the quoted hikes were covered by the healthcare exchange in the end. But, now, a new batch of ominous rumors is going around.

healthcare.gov

Health insurance rates on the Obamacare marketplace in Florida will increase by an average of 45 percent in 2018.

Now that the latest GOP health care proposal is being left for dead, you might think that health care reform efforts are over for the near future. But don't dismiss bipartisan efforts already underway that aim to stabilize the insurance market and potentially give states more flexibility in meeting federal standards.

Republicans officially pulled the plug on their last-ditch effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday.

"We don't have the votes," said Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., after a closed-door meeting of Senate Republicans. "And since we don't have the votes, we've made the decision to postpone the vote." Cassidy, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., put together the proposal they hoped could pass the Senate.

Updated at 3:36 p.m. ET

Sen. John McCain may, once again, be the savior of President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement.

The Arizona Republican announced in a statement on Friday that he opposes the latest GOP legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans' complex health care calculations are coming down to simple math.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs 50 of the chamber's 52 Republicans to vote for a bill that aims to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act and drastically reshape the Medicaid system. McConnell's office is planning to bring the bill up for a vote next week.

Republican efforts in Congress to “repeal and replace” the federal Affordable Care Act are back from the dead. Again.

There's a chance Republicans wouldn't be so close to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act if former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania hadn't dropped into the Capitol barbershop this spring.

"I was up on the Hill, I happened to just go by the barbershop to see if I could get a haircut, and Lindsey was in the chair," Santorum said. "And Lindsey asked me what I was doing, and I thought to myself, 'Well, let me just bounce it off Lindsey.' "

healthcare.gov

A Florida organization that helps people sign up for insurance through the federal marketplace will have its funding cut by nearly $1 million.

The number of Floridians without health insurance dropped again in 2016, according to figures from the U.S. Census.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now, two of the governors who testified before the Senate about health care today - John Hickenlooper, the Democratic governor of Colorado, and Gary Herbert, the Republican governor of Utah. Gentlemen, thanks for joining us today.

With insurance premiums rising and national efforts at health reform in turmoil, a group of 50 state bureaucrats whom many voters probably can’t name have considerable power over consumers’ health plans: state insurance commissioners.

As insurers threaten to exit state markets and voters at town halls complain about unaffordable prices, the state commissioners are central characters in the unfolding drama that is America’s health coverage.

After Republicans in the Senate spectacularly failed to deliver on their promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, a smaller group of lawmakers is trying a new approach: Bring in the Democrats and aim low.

healthcare.gov

Affirming its disdain for "Obamacare," the Trump administration on Thursday announced sharp cuts in programs promoting health care enrollment under the Affordable Care Act for next year.

Congress and the Trump administration could boost insurance coverage by a couple of million people and lower premiums by taking a few actions to stabilize the Affordable Care Act insurance markets, according to a new analysis by the consulting firm Oliver Wyman.

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is moving forward to address problems with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) despite ongoing attempts by Republicans to repeal and replace it.

Wasserman Schultz met with an advisory panel of South Florida healthcare providers at Nova Southeastern University in Davie Tuesday to hear their concerns with the ACA and proposed solutions.

Bipartisan members of Congress are busy working on ways to fix the ACA, even if  the effort is not officially sanctioned, she said.

Pages