Obamacare

healthcare.gov

Nearly 500,000 Floridians signed up for an Affordable Care Act plan in the first three weeks of enrollment.

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.

Consumers are getting the word that taxpayer-subsidized health plans are widely available for next year for no monthly premium or little cost, and marketing companies say they're starting to see an impact on sign-ups.

Floridians have until Dec. 15 to buy health insurance through healthcare.gov, and a lot has happened since the last shopping season.

Multiple attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” have failed. Now there’s a proposal to dismantle the health care law through the tax bill. President Donald Trump has already stopped funding some pieces of the Affordable Care Act.

So where does that leave the average consumer?

healthcare.gov

Obamacare enrollment is off to a strong start in Florida and around the nation, according to national data and those who help people sign up for health insurance.

Updated 5:56 p.m. ET

Senate Republicans now plan to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate as part of a tax overhaul bill.

Several Senate Republicans said Tuesday that including the repeal in tax legislation, currently making its way through a key Senate committee, would allow them to further reduce tax rates for individuals without adding more to the deficit.

healthcare.gov

Despite President Donald Trump's efforts to take down "Obamacare," more than 600,000 people signed up for coverage the first week of open enrollment, the government said Thursday.

Residents in this rural state grappling with a heroin epidemic and an aging population voted Tuesday to deliver a rebuke to Republican Gov. Paul LePage and join 31 other states that have expanded Medicaid under former President Barack Obama's health care law.

Did Obamacare exacerbate the opioid crisis in America? And is expanding the child tax credit the only way the middle class will get a break from the GOP's proposed tax plan? We tackle those claims with Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida.

healthcare.gov

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

Two top Republicans announced a bill Tuesday restoring federal subsidies to insurers while including tough conditions sought by the White House. Senate Democrats have enough votes to kill it, but the measure underscores the changes the Trump administration and congressional conservatives say they want in exchange for resuming the payments.

Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET

A bipartisan coalition of 24 senators — 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats — has signed on to health care legislation to prop up the individual insurance market and keep premiums down. With the expected support of all Senate Democrats, it could have the votes to pass the chamber. But questions remain over when it might actually get a vote, as well as whether President Trump and House Republicans would bring the bill over the finish line.

Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

When patients come to The Outreach Clinic in Brandon, one of the first people they encounter is Jackie Perez.

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.

alexander.senate.gov

Republican and Democratic senators joined in announcing a plan Tuesday aimed at stabilizing America's health insurance markets in the wake of President Donald Trump's order to terminate "Obamacare" subsidies. 

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.

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Florida Blue

Florida’s largest provider of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act responded today to the federal government’s decision to stop funding subsidies that keep costs low for some consumers.

In a brash move likely to roil insurance markets, President Donald Trump will "immediately" halt payments to insurers under the Obama-era health care law he has been trying to unravel for months.

President Trump signed an executive order Thursday that is intended to provide more options for people shopping for health insurance. The president invoked his power of the pen after repeated Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, have failed.

"The competition will be staggering," Trump said. "Insurance companies will be fighting to get every single person signed up. And you will be, hopefully, negotiating, negotiating, negotiating. And you will get such low prices for such great care."

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:

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.

Kaiser Family Foundation

A proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act would cost Florida $9.7 billion in federal funding over six years, according to a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

If Senate Republicans vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this week, it would affect the health care of pretty much every American.

Here's a recap of four key flash points in the health overhaul debate with links to NPR coverage over the past six months, and our chart laying out how the Graham-Cassidy bill under consideration in the Senate addresses those issues compared with the Affordable Care Act.

As the nation has debated the GOP proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, NPR member station reporters have been talking to people around the country about how the proposed changes in the health law would affect them.

Here are five of those stories:

Stinson Dean, an entrepreneur from Independence, Mo., is used to taking risks. He buys Canadian softwood framing lumber to sell to lumberyards in the U.S. and says coping with the ups and downs of the market is an inevitable part of doing business.

But when he started the company about a year and a half ago, he laid down a firm rule.

"One of the things I wasn't willing to risk was the health of my family," Dean says.

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