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The Connecticut Senate has passed a bill that would close the state’s fiscal deficit for this year. The unanimously approved measure plugs a $317 million hole, mostly by drawing on the state’s rainy day fund.

New Rules May Make Online Health Insurance Sales Simpler

May 31, 2017

Signing up for coverage on the health insurance marketplace should be easier for some people this fall because new federal rules will allow brokers and insurers to handle the entire enrollment process online, from soup to nuts.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

U.S. Senate Democrats blasted the House GOP health care bill on Wednesday following release of the Congressional Budget Office’s report. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

President Donald Trump released his first full budget this week. The proposal greatly reduces funding to entitlement programs, but increases defense spending. At least one lawmaker thinks it could be both good and bad for Connecticut.

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There's been a lot of focus lately on how revisions to federal health insurance laws may affect people on state exchanges like the one in Connecticut. But in fact, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act won’t just alter the landscape for consumers on the exchanges -- it’s certain to have a big impact on employer plans too. 

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We spend over three trillion dollars on health care every year and we have worse outcomes than any other developed country - all of which spend on average about half of what America spends per person. 

Derek Torrellas / C-HIT

Federally Qualified Community Health Centers (FQHCs) in Connecticut have expanded services, upped their staffing, and renovated their facilities mostly due to increased revenue streams from the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Back in January, Republicans boasted they would deliver a "repeal and replace" bill for the Affordable Care Act to President Donald Trump's desk by the end of the month.

In the interim, that bravado has faded as their efforts stalled and they found out how complicated undoing a major law can be. With summer just around the corner, and most of official Washington swept up in scandals surrounding Trump, the health overhaul delays are starting to back up the rest of the 2018 agenda.

The Senate is negotiating its own legislation to repeal and replace much of the Affordable Care Act in secret talks with senators hand-picked by party leaders and with no plans for committee hearings to publicly vet the bill.

"I am encouraged by what we are seeing in the Senate. We're seeing senators leading," said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, one of the 13 Republicans involved in the private talks. "We're seeing senators working together in good faith. We're not seeing senators throwing rocks at each other, either in private or in the press."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The health care reform bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week promises sweeping changes to the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. While a lot of attention has focused on things like pre-existing conditions, one of the less considered issues is what may happen to the treatment of mental illness and substance abuse. 

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The two health insurers who currently offer plans on the state's health care exchange say they intend to return in 2018, but both have requested hefty rate increases. The cost of health care generally looks set to rise in Connecticut, as the Department of Insurance gets to work to review insurers rate requests.

Ron Cogswell / Creative Commons

House Republicans in Washington have passed a law to undo the Affordable Care Act -- the signature legislation of President Barack Obama. But Connecticut officials and some health care advocates have not responded favorably. 

After weeks of will-they-or-won't-they tensions, the House managed to pass its GOP replacement for the Affordable Care Act on Thursday by a razor-thin margin. The vote was 217-213.

Democrats who lost the battle are still convinced they may win the political war. As the Republicans reached a majority for the bill, Democrats on the House floor began chanting, "Na, na, na, na ... hey, hey, hey ... goodbye." They say Republicans could lose their seats for supporting a bill that could cause so much disruption in voters' health care.

Updated at 5:37 p.m. ET

The House voted Thursday to narrowly approve a Republican-drafted measure that would eliminate many of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act — the first step toward keeping one of President Trump's campaign pledges and a victory for GOP lawmakers who have long railed against Obamacare, as the ACA is commonly known. The vote was 217-213.

The measure moves to the Senate, where its fate is far from certain — and where top lawmakers in both parties are already signaling that there is a long legislative process ahead.

Updated 5 pm April 3, 2017 to include the proposed Upton amendment.

The House may yet pass its bill to repeal and replace parts of the Affordable Care Act. But Republicans' options to fulfill their seven-year effort to undo the federal health law are getting narrower by the day.

"As of now, they still don't have the votes," said Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) as he was leaving a meeting of GOP members Tuesday. King has been heavily lobbied by both sides.

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