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Affordable Care Act

Connecticut, like other states, launched an online health exchange -- Access Health CT -- where residents can shop for and purchase health insurance. There could be new opportunities for the unemployed or uninsured to receive health insurance. Here, we gather our coverage of changes under the new federal law.

No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, health care under the Affordable Care Act is going to change in the next few years. The Republican-led Congress has vowed to "repeal and replace" the health law known as Obamacare.

That has left many people anxious and confused about what will happen and when. So NPR's Morning Edition asked listeners to post questions on Twitter and Facebook, and we will be answering some of them here and on the radio in the weeks ahead.

There are many challenges to farming for a living: It's often grueling work that relies on unpredictable factors such as weather and global market prices. But one aspect that's often ignored is the cost of health care. 

The Senate confirmed Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., early Friday as the new secretary of Health and Human Services.

He was approved by a party-line vote of 52-47. Democrats were concerned that the conservative congressman wants to pare down government health programs. They were also troubled by lingering ethics questions over Price's investments.

As Republicans move to overhaul the health law, should people bother paying the penalty for not having health insurance when they file their taxes this year? Or will they be able to sign up on the exchange for 2018 after their COBRA benefits end?

Here are some answers to recent questions from readers.

I didn't have health insurance for part of last year and thought I'd get stuck paying a penalty. Now the new administration is talking about not enforcing the insurance requirement. Could I really be off the hook at tax time?

If the Affordable Care Act is repealed without a replacement, hospitals in Rhode Island could take a hit. 

Everyone expects Congress to change the Affordable Care Act, but no one knows exactly how.

The uncertainty has one group of people, the homeless, especially concerned. Many received health coverage for the first time under Obamacare; now they're worried it will disappear.

Joseph Funn, homeless for almost 20 years, says his body took a beating while he lived on the street.

Now, he sees nurse practitioner Amber Richert fairly regularly at the Health Care for the Homeless clinic in Baltimore.

Through years of acrimony over the relative merits of Obamacare, one kind of health insurance has remained steady, widespread and relatively affordable: Employer-sponsored plans.

Job-based medical plans still cover more Americans than any other type, typically with greater benefits and lower out-of-pocket expense. Recent cost increases for this sort of coverage have been a tiny fraction of those for Obamacare plans for individuals.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The CEO of Aetna has spoken out against Donald Trump’s ban on travel from several Muslim-majority countries. Mark Bertolini explained to Bloomberg that he’s the grandson of immigrants. 

Lori Mack / WNPR

Yale medical students, doctors, and other health care providers demonstrated in New Haven to express their outrage over the Donald Trump administration’s move to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

No one knows what will happen to the Affordable Care Act, or to coverage for the roughly 300,000 Connecticut residents insured under the program. But the state office in charge of the ACA is still making plans for the future – hoping to make the private marketplace more attractive for insurers.

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.

President-elect Donald Trump plans to hit the ground running. He could sign his first executive orders within hours of taking the oath of office.

"I've asked my transition team to develop a list of executive actions we can take on Day 1 to restore our laws and bring back our jobs," Trump said in a videotaped message in November. "It's about time."

Vice President-elect Mike Pence echoed that message in a meeting with reporters on Thursday.

"Our job is to be ready on Day 1," Pence said. "We are all ready to go to work."

The incoming president has promised to:

President-elect Donald Trump's choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services defended stock transactions he made as a member of Congress as "above board," while vowing he would not pull the rug from under any American with health care as result of replacing the Affordable Care Act.

Rep. Tom Price, a Republican from Georgia, faced the first of two hearings he'll have as the nominee for HHS secretary. Wednesday's was before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. It will not vote on Price's nomination; that's up to the Senate Finance Committee.

If she’s confirmed, Indiana policy consultant Seema Verma will start work as Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She’ll bring her experience designing Indiana’s unique Medicaid expansion to the national policy conversation.

With little power left in Washington, Democrats set out on Sunday to make a big statement against GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act with rallies in dozens of cities.

It's also a step for the party toward regaining its footing after grassroots efforts in 2016 failed to keep the White House in Democrats' hands.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

For Connecticut's 1st District Congressman John Larson, the 115th Congress has gotten off to an inauspicious start.

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.

Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

Connecticut's U.S. Senator Chris Murphy is sounding the alarm about the future of healthcare under the new Republican congress and the Trump administration.

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.

Republicans in Congress are so eager to repeal the Affordable Care Act that some have vowed to get a bill to President-elect Donald Trump's desk on the day he takes the oath of office.

"We will move right after the first of the year on an Obamacare repeal resolution," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters at a news conference Monday.

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.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Access Health CT, the state’s health care exchange, must figure out its future under soon-to-be President Donald Trump. But that’s far from simple. Trump has been clear he intends to repeal and replace Obamacare – the Affordable Care Act – but it's less clear what he intends to replace it with. 

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. 

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