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Affordable Care Act

Paul Morigi / Brookings Institution

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy is sounding the alarm on President-elect Donald Trump's pick to head up Health and Human Services in his cabinet.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Creative Commons

A new commander in chief will lead the nation in January and some Americans are wondering about what he will do to keep our planet healthy.

This hour, we consider how a Trump Administration could impact global efforts to tackle climate change and how health care might evolve under the new President's watch. 

The Affordable Care Act's requirement that people have health insurance or pay a fine is one of the least popular provisions of the law, and one that Republicans have pledged to eliminate when they repeal and replace Obamacare.

But take a look at some of the replacement proposals that are floating around and it becomes clear that the "individual mandate," as it's called, could still exist, but in another guise.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Connecticut’s Democratic governor will have to reckon with a new legislative landscape when the General Assembly reconvenes in January. The state Senate is now split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, and the GOP also picked up eight seats in the House, leaving Democrats with a slim, seven-seat majority. 

Republicans have been vowing for six years now to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They have voted to do so dozens of times, despite knowing any measures would be vetoed by President Obama.

But the election of Donald Trump as president means Republican lawmakers wouldn't even have to pass repeal legislation to stop the health law from functioning. Instead, President Trump could do much of it with a stroke of a pen.

The cost of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is expected to rise an average of 22 percent in 2017, according to information released by the Obama administration Monday afternoon.

Still, federal subsidies will also rise, meaning that few people are likely to have to pay the full cost after the rate increases to get insurance coverage.

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Customers on Connecticut’s health care exchange use medical services at a much higher rate than non-exchange customers, according to insurance providers. 

ConnectiCare

It was revealed Monday that health insurer ConnectiCare has already quit the state’s health care exchange as it threatened. But the company still wants to find a way to continue to provide Obamacare plans, and has launched a rate appeal with Connecticut's insurance department. 

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Double-digit hikes in premiums look set to make health insurance even less affordable in Connecticut. But advocates say there will be few quick fixes for the rising cost of health care. 

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Connecticut-based health insurer Aetna is calling off its public insurance exchange expansion plans for next year as it becomes the latest big insurer to cast doubt on the future of a key element of the Affordable Care Act.

President Obama on Monday called on Congress to revisit the controversial idea of providing a government-run insurance plan as part of the offerings under the Affordable Care Act.

What's been described as the "public option" was jettisoned from the health law in 2009 by a handful of conservative Democrats in the Senate. Every Democrat's vote was needed to pass the bill in the face of unanimous Republican opposition.

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Connecticut’s Insurance Commissioner Katharine Wade said the 40,000 customers of HealthyCT shouldn’t panic about news that the health insurer looks likely to go out of business. Wade said her department will make sure that consumers experience a smooth transition.

The Obama administration is making it easier for people addicted to opioids to get treatment.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced new rules Wednesday to loosen restrictions on doctors who treat people addicted to heroin and opioid painkillers with the medication buprenorphine.

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Roughly 8,000 people in Connecticut failed to pay their first month's premium for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.  And that means that they won't be covered under Obamacare this year. 

Hillary Clinton wants you to know that she was doing health care before health care was cool.

"You know, before it was called Obamacare it was called Hillarycare," Clinton said recently at a rally in Elko, Nev.

It's a stock line these days in her stump speeches and debates.

The term Hillarycare was coined back in the 1990s, when Clinton tried and failed to restructure the U.S. health care system during her husband's first term as president. It was supposed to be an insult, but now she's embracing it.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has notified the federal government that Kentucky will dismantle its state health insurance exchange, Kynect.

The move will direct Kentuckians seeking health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, to use the federal health insurance site, HealthCare.gov.

More than 500,000 people have gotten health insurance through Kynect.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Businesses are heaving a sigh of relief after the IRS relaxed new paperwork rules around the Affordable Care Act. But one expert is warning that the change may make life more difficult for employees.

Many Health Co-Ops Fold, Others Survive Startup Struggles

Nov 26, 2015

Thousands of Americans are again searching for health insurance after losing it for 2016. That's partly because some large, low-cost insurers — health cooperatives, set up under the Affordable Care Act — are folding in a dozen states.

Courtesy of Access Health CT

The third year of health insurance enrollment under the Affordable Care Act is here. But the goal now isn’t just increasing the number of people with insurance. It’s also making sure they go to the doctor. 

Month after month, Natalia Pedroza showed up at the doctor's office with uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure. Her medications never seemed to work, and she kept returning to the emergency room in crisis.

Walfred Lopez, a Los Angeles County community health worker, was determined to figure out why.

As a member of the Navajo tribe, Rochelle Jake has received free care through the Indian Health Service her entire life. The IHS clinics took care of her asthma, allergies and eczema — chronic problems, nothing urgent.

Recently, though, she felt sharp pains in her side. Her doctor recommended an MRI and other tests she couldn't get through IHS. To pay for them, he urged her to sign up for private insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday handed the Obama administration a major victory on health care, ruling 6-3 that nationwide subsidies called for in the Affordable Care Act are legal.

"Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them," the court's majority said in the opinion, which was written by Chief Justice John Roberts. But they acknowledged that "petitioners' arguments about the plain meaning ... are strong."

As the Supreme Court edges closer to issuing an opinion that could deal a blow to the federal health exchange operating in more than 30 states, Democrats have sounded a warning to their colleagues on the other side: Be careful what you wish for.

The states that set up their own insurance marketplaces have nothing to lose in King v. Burwell, the big Supreme Court case that will be decided by the end of June. But that doesn't mean those states are breathing easy.

With varying degrees of difficulty, all of the state-based exchanges are struggling to figure out how to become financially self-sufficient as the spigot of federal start-up money shuts off.

Courtesy of Access Health CT

The agency that runs the state's insurance marketplace under Obamacare approved a new budget Thursday, and this will be the first year that Access Health CT will operate without substantial federal support. 

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