Obamacare

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We're going to start this hour by talking about the Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. In a moment, we'll hear from a group that has come out against the plan, the AARP.

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Over the strong objections of key conservatives and Democrats, House Republican leaders are forging ahead with a health care plan that scraps major parts of the Obama-era overhaul.

House Speaker Paul Ryan from Wisconsin has been complaining about the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) for so long that his list of grievances sounds like a refrain of some pop song.

"Obamacare is collapsing," he said on Feb. 28. "The Democrats got too far ahead on their ideology and they gave us a system where government runs health care. They gave us a system where costs went up, not down. They gave us a system where choices went away. They gave us a system where people lost the plans they liked, they chose."

It took a lot to get to this point, but Republicans have released their long-awaited health care bill. (For more on the policy, check out the NPR health team's reporting over at Shots.)

The version that was released is likely to change as the bill goes through committees, but now that it's released, here are four potential challenges President Trump and Republicans face:

1. Health care is complicated

House Republicans unveiled their long-awaited replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act Monday night. They're calling it the American Health Care Act.

GOP Health Bill Jettisons Insurance Mandate, Much Of Medicaid Expansion

Mar 7, 2017
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)

House Republicans unveiled their much anticipated health law replacement plan Monday, slashing the law’s Medicaid expansion and scrapping the requirement that individuals purchase coverage or pay a fine. 

After years of waiting, it's finally here.

President Trump's declaration during his speech to Congress Tuesday night that Obamacare is "collapsing" and must be replaced was cheered by Republicans.

But Republican lawmakers remain unable to coalesce behind an approach to their oft-stated goal of repeal and replace, and Democrats believe they hold the upper hand to the fate of the Affordable Care Act.

In an interview with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep that aired Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the odds "are much greater than half" that the ACA will remain in place.

Next year is almost here for American insurance companies wanting to sell plans on Healthcare.gov in 2018, assuming it survives the Obamacare repeal-and-replace effort.

President Donald Trump and Republican governors met Monday and the top topic was the Affordable Care Act. The president and congressional Republican leaders have pledged to repeal and replace the federal health insurance law known as Obamacare.

Many Republican leaders have promoted the idea that consumers should have a "health care backpack," which would make it possible to take insurance from job to job or when moving, starting a business or retiring.

Republicans are looking to President Trump to use his address to Congress Tuesday evening to define the party's path forward on how to deliver on the long-promised pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The White House has, so far, ceded the decision-making to congressional leaders who are trying to unify competing moderate and conservative lawmaker demands behind a plan that can pass with narrow majorities in both chambers.

In recent days, several Republican lawmakers have faced crowds of constituents at town hall meetings around the country who are angry that they may be in danger of losing their health coverage.

Daylina Miller/WUSF

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis held his third public listening session on health care reform in Wesley Chapel on Wednesday night.

No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, health care under the Affordable Care Act is going to change in the next few years. The Republican-led Congress has vowed to "repeal and replace" the health law known as Obamacare.

That has left many people anxious and confused about what will happen and when. So NPR's Morning Edition asked listeners to post questions on Twitter and Facebook, and we will be answering some of them here and on the radio in the weeks ahead.

As Republicans look at ways to replace or repair the Affordable Care Act, many suggest that shrinking the list of services that insurers are required to offer in individual and small group plans would reduce costs and increase flexibility.

Treating people for free or for very little money has been the role of community health centers across the U.S. for decades. In 2015, 1 in 12 Americans sought care at one of these clinics; nearly 6 in 10 were women, and hundreds of thousands were veterans.

Some Republicans looking to scrap the Affordable Care Act say monthly health insurance premiums need to be lower for the individuals who have to buy insurance on their own. One way to do that, GOP leaders say, would be to return to the use of what are called high-risk insurance pools.

House Republicans are debating a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act that would give consumers tax credits to buy insurance, cut back on Medicaid and allow people to save their own money to pay for health care costs.

The outline plan is likely to take away some of the financial help low-income families get through Obamacare subsidies, and also result in fewer people being covered under the Medicaid health care program for the poor.

President Trump has promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act without taking insurance away from the millions of people who gained coverage under the law.

On Wednesday his Department of Health and Human Services made its first substantive proposals to change the marketplaces for individual coverage, commonly known as Obamacare.

Spending your own money on health care might mean that you'll be more frugal with it. That's the theory behind health savings accounts, a decades-old GOP concept that's sparking renewed interest on Capitol Hill as Republican lawmakers look for ways to replace the Affordable Care Act.

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As Republicans move to overhaul the health law, should people bother paying the penalty for not having health insurance when they file their taxes this year? Or will they be able to sign up on the exchange for 2018 after their COBRA benefits end?

Here are some answers to recent questions from readers.

I didn't have health insurance for part of last year and thought I'd get stuck paying a penalty. Now the new administration is talking about not enforcing the insurance requirement. Could I really be off the hook at tax time?

Lynn Hatter, WFSU

Florida leads the nation in signups through the Affordable Care Act, and Orlando alone had more signups that 32 entire states.

With Repeal Of Obamacare, Do Uninsured Still Face Penalties?

Feb 7, 2017

In some recent emails, readers asked about what to expect as Republicans move to overhaul the health law. Should people bother paying the penalty for not having health insurance when they file their taxes this year? Will they be able to sign up on the exchange for 2018 after their COBRA benefits end? Here are some answers.

Everyone expects Congress to change the Affordable Care Act, but no one knows exactly how.

The uncertainty has one group of people, the homeless, especially concerned. Many received health coverage for the first time under Obamacare; now they're worried it will disappear.

Joseph Funn, homeless for almost 20 years, says his body took a beating while he lived on the street.

Now, he sees nurse practitioner Amber Richert fairly regularly at the Health Care for the Homeless clinic in Baltimore.

There's a moment in the Broadway musical Hamilton where George Washington says to an exasperated Alexander Hamilton: "Winning is easy, young man. Governing's harder."

When it comes to health care, it seems that President Trump is learning that same lesson. Trump and Republicans in Congress are struggling with how to keep their double-edged campaign promise — to repeal Obamacare without leaving millions of people without health insurance.

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