Obamacare

Short-term health plans have been around for decades, bridging coverage gaps for people who are between jobs or have recently graduated from school, among other things.

After the Affordable Care Act was enacted, some people gravitated toward the short-term plans because they were willing to trade comprehensive coverage for a cheaper sticker price — even if it meant paying a tax penalty for not having the comprehensive coverage required in the law. Sales increased sharply.

Healthcare.gov

While talk of repeal and replace has dominated the recent conversation about the Affordable Care Act, consumers have quietly been signing up in record numbers.  

Republican lawmakers meeting in Philadelphia this week say they want their replacement of Obamacare to be done by spring. There is no consensus on a plan yet, but several Republicans in Congress have already circulated proposals that could reduce or eliminate features of the federal health law that have benefited older Americans.

Here are some examples:

Prescription drugs

With open enrollment season for buying health coverage under the Affordable Care Act ending Tuesday, it seemed like an apt time to talk with folks in charge of some of the state insurance marketplaces created by the federal health law.

It's the fifth year these marketplaces, also called exchanges, have been running. The marketplaces are the go-to option for people under 65 who don't get health insurance through work or qualify for Medicaid.

Much has been written about the 20 million people who gained health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, and what could happen to these patients if the ACA is repealed without a replacement. But some people don't realize that hospitals nationwide could take a big financial hit on several fronts, too.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The repeal of the Affordable Care Act appears almost certain. On Monday (1/23) a Tallahassee doctor who also teaches at the Florida State University College of Medicine was speaking on what might happen next.

As promised, President Trump has moved to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. It's a concern for those who might be left without health insurance — and especially for the Department of Veterans Affairs, which may have to pick up some of the slack.

Carrie Farmer, a health policy researcher at the Rand Corp., says 3 million vets who are enrolled in the VA usually get their health care elsewhere — from their employer, or maybe from Obamacare exchanges. If those options go away, she has no idea just how many of those 3 million veterans will move over to the VA.

Lynn Hatter/WFSU / WFSU

Two Republican senators plan to propose legislation that lets states keep former President Barack Obama's health care overhaul or opt for a new program providing trimmed-down coverage.

Republicans plan to turn control of Medicaid over to the states as part of their replacement for the Affordable Care Act, according to an adviser to President Donald Trump.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

President Donald Trump, fulfilling a campaign promise to start to repeal Obamacare on Day 1, signed an order directing federal agencies to waive enforcement of large swaths of the law.

The one-page order allows the head of the Department of Health and Human Services or any other agency with authority under the law, not to enforce regulations that impose a financial burden on a state, company or individual.

As promised, President Trump got to work on Day One, spending some time in the Oval Office in between the inaugural parade and a trio of formal balls.

Trump signed an executive order Friday night directing government agencies to "ease the burdens" of Obamacare while the new administration and Congress work toward repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus presented Trump with the order, which he described as: "An executive order minimizing the economic burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act pending repeal."

A partial repeal of Obamacare could leave 18 million people who have insurance today with no coverage one year later, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The report estimates that 32 million people would lose their insurance over 10 years.

Once Donald Trump was elected president, Republicans in Congress realized their chance to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act had finally arrived. The repeal process has already started. And while there is no replacement in sight for the foreseeable future the ACA’s healthcare exchange is still up and running and enrolling record numbers for health insurance in 2017. 

President-elect Donald Trump said he's finishing a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act with a proposal that would provide "insurance for everybody," according to a report by The Washington Post.

As their first major act of the new Congress, Republicans rushed approval of a budget resolution this week that sets up a framework for repealing Obamacare, but what exactly to replace it with is still a puzzle Republicans are piecing together.

And it could take a while.

Congress To Complete First Step To Repealing Health Law

Jan 13, 2017
Lynn Hatter, WFSU

Congress is on the cusp of completing the first — and by far the easiest — step toward gutting President Barack Obama's divisive health care law.

Friday's vote in the House would adopt a House-Senate measure to make it easier for a subsequent "Obamacare" repeal bill to advance through the Senate without the threat of a Democratic filibuster.

Republican-Led Senate Takes First Step To Repeal 'Obamacare'

Jan 12, 2017
healthcare.gov

The Senate early Thursday passed a measure to take the first step forward on dismantling President Barack Obama's health care law, responding to pressure to move quickly even as Republicans and President-elect Trump grapple with what to replace it with.

The Affordable Care Act brought the rate of uninsured Americans to a record low 9 percent in 2015. It's the major achievement of the controversial health care law and one the Obama administration likes to tout whenever it can.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell did just that in an interview with NPR on Tuesday.

The outcome of the repeal-and-replace Obamacare debate could affect more than you might think, depending on just how the GOP congressional majority pursues its goal.

Beyond the Affordable Care Act's marquee achievements like guaranteeing health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on parents' plans until age 26, the roughly 2,000-page law created a host of other provisions that affect the health of nearly every American.

State GOP Leaders Wary As Obamacare Repeal Pushed

Jan 11, 2017
healthcare.gov

Congressional Republicans' drive to repeal the 2010 health care law has financial and political repercussions for GOP leaders in the states and gives Democrats potential openings as they struggle to reclaim power lost during President Barack Obama's tenure.

After Obamacare, What's Next For Community Health Centers?

Jan 10, 2017
Doug Kapustin / Kaiser Health News

For the patients and the employees of Mary’s Center, a community health center that serves Washington, D.C., and its Maryland suburbs, the 2010 health law had a big impact on business. The facility has always promised care to anyone who walks through its doors. But since Obamacare’s implementation, the patient population and the quality of care they receive has changed.

An overwhelming majority of people disapprove of Republican lawmakers' plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act without having a ready replacement for the health care law, according to a poll released Friday.

And judging by the letter-writing and lobbying in the first week of the new congressional session, many health care and business groups agree.

President Obama and Vice President-elect Mike Pence were both on Capitol Hill Wednesday, making competing cases for and against Obama's signature health care law. Republicans have promised to make repeal of the Affordable Care Act their first order of business, once they control both Congress and the White House.

Opening punches were thrown in what one top Democrat today called "the first big fight" of the new congressional year — the promise by President-elect Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

President Obama met with Democrats on Capitol Hill while Vice President-elect Mike Pence sat down with Republicans, as each side prepared for the skirmishing in the days and months ahead.

Asked what advice he gave Democrats in the closed-door meeting about the legacy program that bears his name, Obama responded, "Look out for the American people."

President Obama meets with Democrats on Capitol Hill today, looking for ways to preserve his signature health care law in the face of stiff Republican opposition.

Florida is leading the country in signing up for federal health insurance coverage for 2017 according to federal figures. With still about a month left in the open enrollment period, the numbers are expected to grow even as the Republican-controlled Congress plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act as early as this week.

Congress is back in session on Tuesday, and leaders of both houses say their first order of business will be to repeal Obamacare.

If they do that, it will be a slap in the face to President Obama just three weeks before he leaves the White House. The Affordable Care is the outgoing president's signature achievement, marked by an elaborate signing ceremony in March 2010 at the White House, with lofty speeches from the vice president and Obama himself.

People in Columbia, S.C., had their pick of four health insurers last year when they shopped for policies during the Affordable Care Act's open enrollment.

This time they have just one: Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, which had the most Obamacare enrollees in Richland County in 2016 due to its low prices.

It's a change that's been repeated around the country after big health insurers such as Aetna, Humana and United Healthcare pulled out of dozens of Obamacare marketplaces that they judged unprofitable.

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