Affordable Care Act

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

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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.

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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.

Updated 4:31 pm August 16: On Wednesday, the White House said it would continue what's known as cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers for another month, buying President Trump some time to decide whether he'll continue the payments long-term or cut them off altogether.

The announcement came a day after the Congressional Budget Office released an analysis that found that ending the payments would increase the deficit by $194 billion over 10 years.

The Trump administration is giving insurance companies an extra three weeks to decide whether to offer insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act markets, and how much to charge.

The extension comes as insurance companies wait for President Trump to decide whether he will continue to make payments to insurance companies that are called for under the Affordable Care Act but that some Republicans have opposed.

Americans Want Leaders To Cooperate, Make Health Law Work

Aug 11, 2017
Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

Move on.

Under Trump, Hospitals Face Same Penalties Embraced By Obama

Aug 4, 2017

Amid all the turbulence over the future of the Affordable Care Act, one facet continues unchanged: President Donald Trump’s administration is penalizing more than half the nation’s hospitals for having too many patients return within a month.

Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

After the Senate fell short in its effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration is poised to use its regulatory powers to accomplish what lawmakers could not: shrink Medicaid.

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

NOEL KING, HOST:

Who Knew Senate Health Bill Debate Could Be So Complicated?

Jul 26, 2017

So the Senate has voted to start debate on a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act. Now what?

The Senate voted Tuesday to begin debating a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. It remains uncertain as to what that replacement might look like. No formal legislation has been drafted. But senators moved to take the procedural first step, known as a "motion to proceed." The vote was 51-50, with Vice President Pence casting the tiebreaking vote.

Debate will now begin, most likely on a measure to fully repeal the law, also known as Obamacare.

President Donald Trump's administration has ended Affordable Care Act contracts that brought assistance into libraries, businesses and urban neighborhoods in 18 cities, including three in Florida, meaning shoppers on the insurance exchanges will have fewer places to turn for help signing up for coverage.

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Republican leaders pushed toward a Senate vote next Tuesday on resurrecting their nearly flat-lined health care bill. Their uphill drive was further complicated by the ailing GOP Sen. John McCain's potential absence and a dreary report envisioning that the number of uninsured Americans would soar.

South Florida activists aren't laying down their megaphones just yet, despite the collapse of the GOP health care bill Monday night. 

About two dozen people gathered in Doral on the sidewalk near Sen. Marco Rubio's office Tuesday around 11 a.m. to demand health care for all. Many said they don't think the fight is over.

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The latest Senate health proposal reins in costs by effectively splitting the individual insurance market, with healthy people diverted into stripped-down plans and chronically ill individuals left with pricey and potentially out-of-reach options, insurance analysts said.

Health Bill Still Lacks Support, But GOP Vows Vote Next Week

Jul 14, 2017
WMFE

Senate Republican leaders Thursday released their revised bill to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, but they acknowledged that furious days of negotiation have not yet secured the 50 votes necessary to pass the measure over unanimous Democratic objections.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., plans to release an updated Republican health care bill on Thursday and is delaying the body's annual August recess by two weeks in an effort to generate momentum for the beleaguered legislation.

WMFE

The initial GOP bill to repeal and replace the nation's health law is probably "dead" and President Donald Trump's proposal to just repeal it appears to be a "non-starter," two moderate Republican senators indicated Sunday as their party scrambled to salvage faltering legislation.

No corner of the health care system would be harder hit than Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor, if Republican leaders in Congress round up the votes to repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act.

GOP lawmakers have proposed winding down the Medicaid expansion that added 17 million people in 31 states and the District of Columbia under the ACA, and also eventually capping the program's spending per capita.

GOP's Health Bill May End Insurance Rebates

Jul 5, 2017
WMFE

If Senate GOP leaders have their way, the check may not be in the mail.

Drop In Sudden Cardiac Arrests Linked To Obamacare

Jun 29, 2017
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If 22 million Americans lose their health care coverage by 2026 under the GOP Senate’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, how many people could die? The question is at the heart of the debate raging in Washington, D.C., but has been difficult to answer.

Helena Pivarnik believes she’s alive today only because of the health care coverage she got through the Affordable Care Act. She’s a cancer survivor. Without coverage, she couldn’t afford chemotherapy. 

It’s one of the reasons she’s one of approximately 50 South Florida residents who were protesting outside U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s office in Doral under the blazing sun on Wednesday. Rubio is one of 50 votes needed to pass the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act, the GOP’s answer to 'repeal and replace’ the Affordable Care Act.

In late May, several senators went to the floor of the Senate to talk about people in their states who are affected by the opioid crisis. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., talked about Chelsea Carter.

"She told me her drug habit began when she was 12 years old," said Capito.

Two years ago, Cheasanee Huette, a 20-year-old college student in Northern California, decided to find out if she was a carrier of the genetic mutation that gave rise to a disease that killed her mother. She took comfort in knowing that whatever the result, she'd be protected by the Affordable Care Act's guarantees of insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions.

JACQUELYN MARTIN / AP

Updated 2:30 p.m. ET

Facing a perilous path for their health care bill, Senate Republican leaders have decided to push off a vote on their health care bill until after Congress returns from next week's July Fourth recess, GOP aides confirm to NPR's Susan Davis. The delay comes on a day in which President Trump was working to twist some arms and when several GOP senators were saying they were against bringing the bill to the floor this week.

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Having long decried the failings of the Affordable Care Act, Senate Republicans are purporting to fix one of its loopholes with their newly unveiled health plan. The so-called coverage gap left more than 2.5 million people living below the poverty line of $11,880 for an individual ineligible for Medicaid or financial assistance to buy insurance — even as higher earners got subsidy checks to buy theirs.

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