Obamacare | KNKX

Obamacare

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Healthcare premiums for individual plans are going up in Washington.  According to Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, companies are proposing an average rate increase of 19 percent for 2019.

Wikimedia Commons

Health insurers in Washington state are now required to provide 12-month refills of birth control pills.  

Although the Affordable Care Act requires most insurance plans to provide birth control for free as part of preventive medicine, a lot of insurers had limited customers to a 30-day supply at a time.

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP Photo

With the failure of the latest Republican effort to replace "Obamacare," attention is turning once again to a stalled bipartisan effort to shore up the healthcare law.

That means Washington state's senior U.S. senator, Patty Murray, is back in the spotlight. 

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

The Republican's seven year quest to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act descended into chaos Thursday night as the Senate prepared for an unwieldy, all-night session.

Paula Wissel / knkx

Cuts to Medicaid have been at the heart of much of the Congressional debate over health care. The federally funded health care program for the poor has been a target of most G.O.P proposals to repeal or repeal and replace Obamacare.  The threats to Medicaid have spurred a new level of activism among some recipients in Washington state.

In the spring of my first-year of law school, while taking an exam, I had a grand mal seizure — the type of seizures people see in the movies with spasms on the floor. My memory is fuzzy from that time. I remember a few of my classmates offering me water afterward. I was told that many stopped taking the exam to make sure that I didn't injure myself while having a seizure, sitting in my chair.

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau present the most detailed picture yet of the dramatic rise in the number of people covered by health insurance since the Affordable Care Act went into effect.

County-level data going back to 2010, when the law was signed, show a patchwork of people living without health insurance that ticked down slowly for the first three years under the ACA. But once the online insurance exchanges opened at the end of 2013 and Medicaid expanded, the population living without coverage dropped noticeably.

President Trump and congressional Republicans are having some success with one of their oft-stated goals — rolling back federal regulations approved during the Obama administration. But the clock is ticking.

The House and Senate have voted to repeal more than a dozen regulations approved in the final six months of Obama's presidency, among them:

For more than two decades, Celeste Thompson, 57, a home care worker in Missoula, Mont., had not had regular contact with a doctor — no annual physicals and limited sick visits. She also needed new glasses.

Like many others who work in the lower rungs of the health care system, a category that includes nursing aides as well as direct care and personal care assistants, she has worked hard to keep her clients healthy by feeding them, dressing them and helping them navigate chronic conditions.

Updated July 19 at 2:30 p.m. ET

Repealing the Affordable Care Act was at the top of Republicans' policy wish list ever since the law was passed in 2010. Seven years later, having gained the White House and majorities in both houses of Congress, the GOP apparently has failed to repeal that law, also known as Obamacare.

However, that doesn't mean Obamacare itself is untouchable. While Congress faltered, the White House still has lots of power.

The fallout from Friday's Republican health care bill collapse is still trying to be understood.

Right after the bill was pulled, President Trump teased that he wanted to work with Democrats and believed a bipartisan bill would be possible.

But it wasn't clear if that was just talk. On Tuesday night, he may have taken the first step to trying to reach across the aisle.

President Trump is doing his best to put a good face on defeat in his party's attempt to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

His strategy is simple: declare that the law is failing. And he is selling that message in his own distinctly Trumpian way: concocting it out of simple, bold words and then hammering that message home, over and over: Obamacare, in his words, will "explode."

Thursday will mark seven years since President Obama signed the now-threatened Affordable Care Act before a crowd in the jam-packed East Room of the White House. It was the signature legislative moment of his presidency, underscored by then-Vice President Biden, who whispered into the president's ear that it was a "big f****** deal." The mic picked up the remark, which created quite a stir.

We tracked the action on Capitol Hill Wednesday as two House committees — Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce, reviewed and amended the American Health Care Act. (It's the GOP plan to replace The Affordable Care Act.) Check in with us Thursday for more on the health law overhaul, including a live Tweetchat answering questions about the overhaul proposal, #ACAchat, from 12-1 pm ET.

President Trump is offering some Twitter support for the Obamacare replacement plan put forward by House Republicans.

In a tweet Tuesday morning, Trump described the GOP blueprint as "Our wonderful new Healthcare Bill." He suggested it would be a welcome change from the Affordable Care Act, which he called "a complete and total disaster."

"I'm proud to support the replacement plan released by the House of Representatives," the president said Tuesday afternoon during a White House meeting with GOP lawmakers.

With two House committees set to take up the Republican replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday, party leaders have begun trying to sell the proposal to the American public.

Leading the effort is President Trump, who met with Republican House leaders at the White House, saying he is "proud to support the replacement plan released by the House of Representatives."

Last year, when presidential candidate Donald Trump hammered the Affordable Care Act as "a fraud," "a total disaster" and "very bad health insurance," many Americans seemed to agree with him.

Now that President Trump and fellow Republicans are attempting to keep their promise to get rid of the law, voters increasingly seem to be having second thoughts.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, a Democrat from New Jersey, has been trying to get a look at the Republicans' bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

He's the top-ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which will have to approve the bill before the whole House can vote on it.

But as of Thursday afternoon, Pallone still couldn't get his hands on a copy.

As Republicans look at ways to replace or repair the Affordable Care Act, many suggest that shrinking the list of services that insurers are required to offer in individual and small group plans would reduce costs and increase flexibility.

Ask anyone about his or her health care and you are likely to hear about doctors, hospitals, maybe costs and insurance hassles. Most people don't go straight from "my health" to a political debate, and yet that is what our country has been embroiled in for almost a decade.

A study published Thursday tries to set aside the politics to look at what makes or breaks health insurance markets in five states.

Premiums for Obamacare plans sold by New Mexico Health Connections could rise as little as 7 percent next year, said Martin Hickey, the insurance company's CEO. Or they might soar as much as 40 percent, he said.

It all depends on what happens in Washington. Such is the vast uncertainty about how the Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress are approaching their promises to repeal, repair and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

There's a moment in the Broadway musical Hamilton where George Washington says to an exasperated Alexander Hamilton: "Winning is easy, young man. Governing's harder."

When it comes to health care, it seems that President Trump is learning that same lesson. Trump and Republicans in Congress are struggling with how to keep their double-edged campaign promise — to repeal Obamacare without leaving millions of people without health insurance.

Much has been written about the 20 million people who gained health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, and what could happen to these patients if the ACA is repealed without a replacement. But some people don't realize that hospitals nationwide could take a big financial hit on several fronts, too.

Chris O'Meara / AP Photo

The deadline to sign up for health care for this year under the Affordable Care Act is Tuesday, January 31. Even with the prospect of the ACA, also known as Obamacare, going away, Washington officials say there are good reasons to enroll through the state's Washington Healthplanfinder website.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo / file

If Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act without a comparable replacement, it could have a major impact on the immunization program for children in Washington state. The state depends on dollars from the ACA, also known as Obamacare, to pay for the procurement and distribution of children’s vaccines. Loss of funds could affect other public health programs as well, including the state’s program to test lead poisoning in children.

Warren Langford

A crowd of over 2,000 tested the capacity of Westlake Park in downtown Seattle Sunday afternoon. They were all there to protest the expected repeal of the Affordable Care Act put in motion last week by Republican lawmakers. 

Washington state Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal helped organize the event and was one of more than 10 speakers.

President-elect Donald Trump said he's finishing a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act with a proposal that would provide "insurance for everybody," according to a report by The Washington Post.

The outcome of the repeal-and-replace Obamacare debate could affect more than you might think, depending on just how the GOP congressional majority pursues its goal.

Beyond the Affordable Care Act's marquee achievements like guaranteeing health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on parents' plans until age 26, the roughly 2,000-page law created a host of other provisions that affect the health of nearly every American.

Lawmakers returned to Washington and wasted no time getting to work on the repeal of Obamacare.

Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., introduced a resolution just hours after the new Congress convened Tuesday that will serve as the vehicle for repealing much of the president's signature health care law.

Obamacare Plans Don't Always Include Top Cancer Centers

Jan 3, 2017

Being told that you have cancer can be scary. Discovering that your health insurance plan doesn't give you access to leading cancer centers may make the diagnosis even more daunting.

As insurers in the plans set up under the Affordable Care Act shrink their provider networks and slash the number of plans that offer out-of-network coverage, some consumers are learning that their treatment options can be limited.

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