Affordable Care Act

KBIA

More than 200 people gathered to voice their concerns about health care at a town hall on Tuesday night hosted by CoMo for Progress.

The town hall was held so the public could share stories and concerns about the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Since Congress is in recess, Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt were invited to attend the event, as well Representative Vicki Hartzler. McCaskill did not attend, but representatives from her Columbia office read a letter from the senator and listened to attendees concerns.

Monash Univeristy / flickr

Health care policy has come back into public discussion in a big way, and we want to add your voice to the conversation. Over the coming months, we’ll be featuring interviews with health care providers, experts and everyday Missourians about their health hopes, needs and concerns moving forward.


When Joe Morris had a heart attack last Easter and had to be rushed to the ER, it was the first time he’d been to the doctor in more than 40 years — since high school.

Back home in the small community of Neosho, Mo., Morris needed follow-up care to manage his heart disease and diabetes, but he didn’t have a doctor — or insurance.


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

A lunchtime rally brought about 50 people to U.S. Senator Roy Blunt’s Columbia, Missouri office Friday, voicing their support for the Affordable Care Act to his local staff. The demonstrators called for the health care law to be fixed rather than repealed completely.


Missouri Capitol
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

  Prosecutors are moving forward with a case against 23 clergy members involved in a 2014 protest of the Missouri Senate.

Authorities charged the clergy with obstructing government operations and first-degree trespassing after they and a few hundred others protested lawmakers’ refusal to expand Obamacare two years ago. 

Protesters had filled the Senate’s public galleries, chanted and sang before the police arrested 23 of the 100 protestors and clergy members.

Flickr Creative Commons

  Jeremy Milarksy sits behind his office computer and opens up the calendar of appointments for the week. There’s hardly any white space. Appointments are scheduled back-to-back.

Milarsky expected that this week.

“We've been very, very busy around here because it's close to a deadline day,” he says.

Next Tuesday, December 15, is the last day to enroll in health insurance through the federal marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act to guarantee health coverage starting January 1, 2016.


United States Census Bureau

The number of uninsured residents in Missouri and throughout the U.S. is down, according to the 2014 American Community Survey. The United States Census Bureau released the survey Wednesday as the first compilation of data since the introduction of the Affordable Care Act.

The survey showed 8.8 million fewer Americans were uninsured under the first year of the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Timothy McBride, a health economist at Washington University in St. Louis, said it's the first national report on the ACA.


The cost of health insurance premiums - the amount you pay each month for your plan -  will likely go up in 2016. If state governments approve insurers’ proposed hikes, the average cost for the most common health plans on the federal and state health insurance marketplaces will increase by 14 percent, according to an analysis of proposed rates by HealthPocket, an insurance research and comparison site.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

When Darvin Bentlage needed colon surgery in 2007, he had an expensive stay at the hospital.

“The room alone for a week was $25,000,” Bentlage says. Add in the cost of the procedure and, “it added up to about $60,000 or $70,000.”


Hope Kirwan / KBIA

Several months remain until the next open enrollment period for health insurance, but any insurance company looking to raise the cost of their plans next year had to submit their proposed increase by June 1.

In Missouri, seven insurance companies submitted rate increases for 11 different plans, with proposed raises ranging between 11 and 28 percent. Almost every company who submitted a rate increase cited the rising cost of healthcare as a reason for the change.


Tyler Adkisson

The six speakers representing the City of Columbia — including Mayor Bob McDavid — all shot a very clear set of data-backed messages to state legislators. But even with a multitude of statistics, one main point reigned above all others.

"So it's disingenuous for some legislators to say that we can't afford to expand Medicaid, just as it's disingenuous to say that Medicaid is broken," Fourth Ward City Council Member Ian Thomas said.


Privately run Medicare plans, fresh off a lobbying victory that reversed proposed budget cuts, face new scrutiny from government investigators and whistleblowers who allege that plans have overcharged the government for years.

The Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to get health insurance or pay a penalty. To help coax people to buy a health plan, the federal government now subsidizes premiums for millions of Americans.

MU Will Continue to Stay in the Health Insurance Business

Mar 31, 2015
Columns at University of Missouri
File Photo / KBIA

Colleges across the nation are discussing whether or not to continue to offer health insurance plans to their students. High plan costs for students and provisions in the Affordable Care Act are some of the main factors driving the decision.

With yet another do-or-die test of Obamacare before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, the justices were sharply divided.

By the end of the argument, it was clear that the outcome will be determined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy. The chief justice said almost nothing during the argument, and Kennedy sent mixed signals, seeming to give a slight edge to the administration's interpretation of the law.

Judging by the comments from the remaining justices, the challengers would need the votes of both Roberts and Kennedy to win.

Round 2 in the legal battle over Obamacare hits the Supreme Court's intellectual boxing ring Wednesday.

In one corner is the Obama administration, backed by the nation's hospitals, insurance companies, physician associations and other groups like Catholic Charities and the American Cancer Society.

In the other corner are conservative groups, backed by politicians who fought in Congress to prevent the bill from being adopted.

Teddy Nykiel / KBIA News

Residents from across Missouri attended a press conference at the Missouri State Capitol on Wednesday to discuss the possibilities of Medicaid expansion in the state.

Five panelists led the conference and told their stories about being a part of the coverage gap. This term describes the situation of people who earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid but don’t earn enough money to pay for health insurance or qualify for incentives through the Affordable Care Act.

fhcmo.org

  It’s no secret that health insurance can be a confusing topic.

“There's not a ton of health insurance literacy,” said Aaron Swaney, Outreach Enrollment Specialist for the Family Health Center in Columbia. ”But that's true from people who have never had health insurance before to people who work in the healthcare field.”  

  

healthcare.gov

More than 100,000 Missouri residents have signed up for health insurance through a federally run website during the first month of enrollment. 

healthcare.gov

  Last week marked the beginning of open enrollment for the federal health insurance marketplace, and on the surface it appears not much has changed. By some measures premiums before tax credits are just as affordable as last year - decreasing on average by about one percent according to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation. But to be a savvy shopper, many consumers should give the marketplace a second look.

House Republicans on Friday followed through on a threat to sue President Obama over actions he has taken concerning the Affordable Care Act.

The lawsuit was filed in a federal court against the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Treasury.

On a recent afternoon at his office in Hartford, Conn., Dr. Doug Gerard examines a patient complaining of joint pain. He checks her out, asks her a few questions about her symptoms and then orders a few tests before sending her on her way.

For a typical quick visit like this, Gerard could get reimbursed $100 or more from a private insurer. For the same visit, Medicare pays less — about $80. And now, with the new private plans under the Affordable Care Act, Gerard says he would get something in between, but closer to the lower Medicare rates.

On Tuesday, two federal appeals courts issued conflicting decisions that could have major ramifications for the future of the Affordable Care Act.

The controversy hinges on whether people in the 36 states that opted NOT to set up their own health insurance exchanges can qualify for subsidies (really, tax credits) on their health insurance premiums. Missouri and Illinois are among those 36 that don't have state-run exchanges.

COM SALUD / Flickr

 

Almost 800,000 uninsured Missourians became eligible for coverage through the federal health insurance marketplace earlier this year. As the state continues to consider extending coverage to even more individuals through Medicaid expansion, the need for primary care doctors will increase as well.

jfcherry / Flickr

The federal government agency that oversees applications for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act says that the computer problems which plagued early sign-ups are to blame for problems at a suburban St. Louis processing center.

David Sachs / SEIU

  

  By now Missourians are familiar with the debate over expanding Medicaid in the state.

The Affordable Care Act gives most people the opportunity to purchase health insurance with help from federal tax credits. But individuals earning too little to qualify for these tax credits but too much to be covered under for Missouri Medicaid are stuck in what is called “The Gap.”

Rosemary / Flickr

The US Department of Health and Human Services released data Thursday showing that 152,335 Missourians are enrolled in health insurance marketplace plans. The number of enrollees more than doubled in March alone, the total exceeding the federal goal by 29 percent.

Data also showed, however, that 300,000 people in the state are unable to get insurance due to ineligibility for Medicaid or financial help in the marketplace.

stethoscope
Vitualis / Flickr

A new report says more than 150,000 Missouri residents signed up for health insurance policies through a federally run website.

Véronique LaCapra / St. Louis Public Radio

 

For years in most states, Medicaid eligibility had been limited to disabled adults, seniors needing long-term care and very low-income parents with their children.

Then along came the Affordable Care Act. It was designed to grow health insurance coverage across the board. One of its tenets was to expand Medicaid coverage beyond the extremely poor and disabled to include all adults earning up to 138 percent of federal poverty levels.

But in 2012, the Supreme Court gave states the chance to opt out Medicaid expansion.

Illinois is one of 25 states that went ahead with expanding the program. Neighboring Missouri did not.

We looked into the impacts of those differing decisions. Here’s what we found out.

Katie Hiler / KBIA

  

We’ve been hearing a lot about the Affordable Care Act from a number of politicians - Governor Jay Nixon, Senator Roy Blunt, and, of course, President Obama, to name a few.  These people can talk about the number of people insured and weigh the cost versus economic impact. But behind those numbers they’re citing are people, Missourians. Those dollar figures they throw around, that’s money in and out of our pockets. So how do Missourians who have been trying to utilize the new healthcare law feel about it? 

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