Affordable Care Act

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With continued legal and political battles about the federal Affordable Care Act, a Florida Senate committee Tuesday approved a bill that seeks to ensure patients with preexisting conditions would have access to health coverage. 

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Conservative author and health policy expert Avik Roy has a plan for universal health care.

In her first speech as speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi made it clear that she knows that health care is key to why voters sent Democrats to Congress.

"In the past two years the American people have spoken," Pelosi told members of Congress and their families who were gathered Thursday in the House chamber for the opening day of the session.

The federal judge in Texas who ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional earlier this month said that the law can remain in effect while under appeal.

U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor wrote in his ruling filed on Sunday that "many everyday Americans would otherwise face great uncertainty during the pendency of appeal."

The number of Floridians who enrolled in the Affordable Care Act this year increased by more than 55,000 compared to last year.

Sure, they're less expensive for consumers, but short-term health policies have another side: They're highly profitable for insurers and offer hefty sales commissions for brokers.

Driven by rising premiums for Affordable Care Act plans, interest in short-term insurance is growing, boosted by Trump administration actions to ease Obama-era restrictions and possibly make federal subsidies available to consumers to purchase them.

If last Friday's district court ruling that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional were to be upheld, far more than the law's most high-profile provisions would be at stake.

In fact, canceling the law in full — as Judge Reed O'Connor in Fort Worth, Texas, ordered in his 55-page decision — could thrust the entire health care system into chaos.

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor has a history of siding with Republicans on ideologically motivated lawsuits. His ruling last week, in which he sided with the GOP on a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, was not a one-off.

In fact, critics say, his history is ultimately why that case was before him in the first place.

Florida's largest health insurer has seen a 45 percent drop in opioid prescriptions since it stopped paying for OxyContin.

It has been almost a year since Florida Blue announced that it would no longer provide prescription payments for the popular painkiller and would require advanced permission for any opioid prescription lasting longer than seven days.

It replaced OxyContnin in its drug plans with a different opioid, Xtampza. That drug is designed to be more difficult to crush, making it tougher to snort or inject.

Judge's Ruling On 'Obamacare' Poses New Problems For GOP

Dec 17, 2018
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A federal judge's ruling that the Obama health law is unconstitutional has landed like a stink bomb among Republicans, who've seen the politics of health care flip as Americans increasingly value the overhaul's core parts, including protections for pre-existing medical conditions and Medicaid for more low-income people.

The Affordable Care Act faces a new legal challenge after a federal judge in Texas ruled the law unconstitutional on Friday. The decision risks throwing the nation's health care system into turmoil should it be upheld on appeal. But little will be different in the meantime.

"Nothing changes for now," says Julie Rovner, chief Washington correspondent of Kaiser Health News.

Federal Judge Rules Affordable Care Act Unconstitutional

Dec 15, 2018

A conservative federal judge in Texas has ruled the Affordable Care Act "invalid" on the eve of the sign-up deadline for next year. But with appeals certain, even the Trump White House said the law will remain in place for now.

Like millions of Americans in this final week of open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, Diane McCabe is shopping for health insurance.

"At my age, I can't go without it, even though I'm healthy now," says McCabe. She's 62 and a self-employed real estate agent in Luzerne County, Pa. "But the process is frustrating, and the expense significant."

Editor's note: This story was updated with enrollment figures made available on Dec. 19.

About 8.5 million people enrolled in health plans for 2019 through the federal HealthCare.gov website by the Dec. 15 deadline.

That's about 367,000 fewer people than signed up during the 6 week open enrollment season last year, a decline of about 4 percent, according to new numbers from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Higher Tax Credits Could Eliminate Premiums On Some ACA Plans

Dec 13, 2018
healthcare.gov

Signups for health insurance through the federal marketplaces are down as the open enrollment period comes to an end. But more than half a million Floridians could be eligible for tax credits that would cover the cost of one of the insurance plans.

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Though the proposal appears likely to have little chance of passing the Legislature, a South Florida Democrat on Tuesday filed a bill that would expand Medicaid eligibility. 

Updated at 7:20 p.m. ET

A new health insurer in Florida filed a motion to immediately block Florida Blue from contracting exclusively with insurance brokers. 

According to a 2017 Lincoln Financial Group dental research study, one in four people with employer-sponsored dental insurance say they haven’t been to the dentist in the past year for routine checkups and cleanings due to cost.

In recent years, some cities, including Memphis and Phoenix, withered into health insurance wastelands, as insurers fled and premiums skyrocketed in the insurance marketplaces that were set up under the Affordable Care Act.

But today, as in many parts of the U.S., these two cities are experiencing something unprecedented: Insurance premiums are sinking and choices are sprouting.

There's less than a month left to enroll for health insurance plans on the Affordable Care Act marketplace and so far this year fewer people have been signing up.

A health insurance provider that started selling plans on Florida’s Affordable Care Act marketplace this year is suing the state’s largest insurer.

House Dems In New Seats Of Power Will Steer Health Policy, Attack Drug Prices

Nov 8, 2018

For the first time since passing the Affordable Care Act, Democrats will soon control the House of Representatives and its powerful health committees. But Republicans’ tightened grip on the Senate means those hoping for another round of dramatic, progressive reforms may be disappointed.

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The Trump administration on Wednesday released a pair of rules that will allow employers with religious or moral objections to contraception to offer health-benefit plans without the coverage. 

Health care proved important but apparently not pivotal in the 2018 midterm elections on Tuesday as voters gave Democrats control of the U.S. House, left Republicans in charge in the Senate and appeared to order an expansion of Medicaid in at least three states long controlled by Republicans.

Open enrollment is underway for affordable care act marketplace health insurance plans - as well as some individual and family health plans.

Open enrollment for health insurance plans in the Affordable Care Act marketplace for 2019 coverage started Thursday and consumers will have less help navigating several changes that were put in place.

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Open enrollment for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act has started, and people might notice their premiums going up.  That’s because of two changes to the law.

It's time for consumers who buy their own health insurance to start shopping for policies for next year. Open enrollment for Affordable Care Act coverage starts Thursday across most of the country.

But the shopping and buying experience will vary widely, depending on where people live.

In California, for example, where political leaders have always been supportive of the Affordable Care Act, legislators have allocated $100 million for outreach.

About 1.6 million Floridians are enrolled in Affordable Care Act Marketplace plans.

Open enrollment starts Nov. 1 and ends Dec. 15. Florida Blue offers plans in all 67 Florida counties, and covers more than half of enrollees.

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