Obamacare

The Nebraska Department of Insurance wants to hear your questions and concerns, so once again they are holding listening sessions throughout the state beginning the first week of October.  

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson / The Texas Tribune

Justin Nelson, a Democrat running for attorney general, is positioning himself as the champion of protections for pre-existing conditions, one of the most popular provisions of the landmark health care law.

From The Texas Tribune:

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt acknowledges that a multi-state attack on the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, could wipe out some popular consumer protections.

But, Schmidt said, he believes Congress will step in to preserve certain parts of the law if he and 19 other Republican attorneys general succeed in striking down the individual mandate — that everybody buy coverage or face a fine on their tax return — as unconstitutional.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is challenging the Affordable Care Act at a hearing in federal court in Fort Worth today.

In a little-noticed court filing last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked a federal judge to get rid of a popular part of the Affordable Care Act in Texas. In particular, his request could affect a part of the law that protects people with pre-existing conditions from being denied health insurance or being priced out of a health plan.

The Trump administration recently announced big cuts to a program that helps people sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Almost the same number of Texans who signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during the last enrollment period signed up this time, according to the federal government. The figure took experts by surprise because there were federal cuts in funding for outreach and assistance.

Michael Jones / The Texas Tribune

The open enrollment period to buy health insurance through the federal government ends Dec. 15. With the enrollment window cut in half and Trump administration limitations on the budget, more Texans could go uninsured.

From The Texas Tribune:

Wallethub

After the Affordable Care Act became law, insurance rates in America dipped to historic lows. But those uninsured rates are on the rise again, thanks to uncertainty in the insurance markets. And uninsured rates can vary wildly across states.

The personal finance website Wallethub recently set out to find which states had the lowest rates of uninsured citizens.

Republican Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran says he doesn’t support the health care overhaul bill in the U.S. Senate. Leaders in the Senate announced Tuesday that they are delaying a vote on the bill over concerns that it didn’t have enough support.

Moran initially was one of the undecided lawmakers. That changed when the vote on the GOP plan was delayed: Now, he says the Senate bill “missed the mark” for Kansas and he would not have supported it.

Moran says he's glad the vote was delayed and says the full legislative process should be used to develop a better proposal.

In a post Tuesday on the Health Affairs blog, former Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius calls the Republican health care plans passed by the House and proposed by the Senate “a very cruel war on the poor.”

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 3:10 p.m. June 27.

Disability rights advocates are among the strongest opponents of the Obamacare replacement legislation that Republicans are attempting to push through Congress.

If anything resembling the bill that the U.S. House approved in May or the one the Senate is considering passes, they say it will roll back decades of progress. 

Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) says he hasn’t read the legislation the House passed Thursday to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. What’s more, he says, it doesn’t matter, because the Senate is going to reboot the whole issue.

KFOR

Oklahoma may lose its last insurer on the healthcare marketplace next year, reports KFOR. The number of insurers on the Oklahoma exchange has fallen after several carriers sustained significant losses.

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak noted the “absence of legislative action to create a solution that can restore the stability of our health insurance system.”

Kansas freshman Republican Congressman Roger Marshall is getting a baptism of fire as he campaigns for the American Health Care Act — the bill Republicans introduced this week to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

Todd Wiseman / Becca Aaronson / The Texas Tribune

Republicans in Congress unveiled their healthcare plan this week, and the proposed legislation has many in Texas scratching their heads. As The Texas Tribune reports, the effects of the proposed plan in the Lone Star State are unclear.

Republicans have been getting ready to make good on long held promises to abolish the Affordable Care Act.

If that were to happen, certain states stand to suffer more than others. The personal finance website WalletHub performed a study to determine which states will be hurt the most, should Obamacare be undone without a replacement.

States that benefited the most from the legislation stand to lose the most, and states that neglected to embrace the legislation won’t be hurt as badly because they don’t have as far to fall.

50states.com

As Democratic lawmakers in Colorado push back against the GOP’s attempt to repeal Obamacare, some Coloradans who benefited from it are wondering what it will be replaced with.

According to a recent study, Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid coverage to people living just above the poverty line may be responsible for more disabled people getting jobs.

As Reuters Health reports, prior to passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), Obamacare, in 2010, people with disabilities and low income jobs were often unable to afford their expensive medical care. Many opted for unemployment in order to qualify for Medicaid coverage.

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Federal officials expect over one million more people to sign up for Obamacare in 2017, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. The feds estimate that almost 14 million people will sign up for coverage. That’s compared with fewer than 13 million this year.

As The Rural Blog notes, the agency estimated that “average monthly enrollment in 2017 is estimated at 11.4 million people, up from 10.5 million people in 2016.”

The Washington post

The number of uninsured Americans has dropped to its lowest level since before the Great Recession, reports The Washington Post.

The gains in insured citizens came primarily among people buying individual policies, rather than getting health benefits through a job. This includes, but is not limited to, those obtaining insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Several key Texas lawmakers have shown little interest in expanding Medicaid in Texas, according to The Texas Tribune.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

Rural Americans are benefitting greatly from the Affordable Care Act, according to a new study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In fact, rural citizens are gaining health insurance coverage faster than their urban counterparts, as member station KMUW reports. 

This is especially striking given that two-thirds of uninsured rural people live in states like Kansas and Texas that have not expanded Medicaid eligibility.

Public Domain

Health premiums under the Affordable Care Act could rise more next year than in previous years, according to Kaiser Health News. Premiums for one popular type of “silver” plan could rise 10 percent in 2017. This year that same plan’s cost only rose five percent. Projections are based on preliminary insurance rates filed with state regulators. These rates are still subject to federal review.

fstop/Getty Images

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Doctors-in-training learn a lot about the workings of the human body during medical school and residency. But many are taught next to nothing about the workings of the health care system. One university in Washington, D.C., is trying to change that.

Carl Juste / MBR/Houston Chroncile

Five nonprofit organizations in Texas have been awarded almost $5 million by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, reports The Houston Chronicle. The money will go toward boosting efforts to enroll the state's nearly three-quarters of a million uninsured children.

akronohio.gov

From the Kansas Health Institute:

The Obama administration on Wednesday moved to sharply limit short-term health insurance plans, which a growing number of consumers have been buying even though they offer less coverage than what the Affordable Care Act decreed all people should have.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Health advocates cheered this week when Oklahoma officials announced they were considering expanding Medicaid in that state. Oklahoma has been missing out on millions of federal health care dollars with its decision to not participate in the Affordable Care Act. But with ballooning budget problems and rising health care costs in the state, opting out no longer seems viable. And that means Texas could be next, reports member station KUT.

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Most Americans want the government to pay for health care, a new poll shows. According to KRMG Tulsa, 58 percent favor replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, with a federally funded health care program.

Chan Lone / Texas Tribune

Despite lower uninsured rates that in previous eras, Texas still has one of the highest rates of uninsured children in the country, reports member station KUT. And those rates seem to differ according to racial and ethnic lines, according to new evidence.

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