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health coverage

Death By 1,000 Cuts: How Republicans Can Still Alter Your Health Coverage

The Affordable Care Act’s worst enemies are now in charge of the vast range of health coverage it created. They’re also discussing changes that could...
seema verma

CMS Chief To Sit Out Watershed Decision On Medicaid Work Mandate In Kentucky

Seema Verma, the former health policy consultant now overseeing Medicare and Medicaid for the Trump administration, will not take part in one of her agency’s...
medicaid

In Deep-Blue State, Millions in Reddish Heartland Are Counting On Medicaid

FRESNO, Calif. — In 2012, when Jerry Goodwin showed up at a clinic with intense pain and swelling in his legs, doctors called for...
Medicaid

Texas Braces For Medicaid Cuts Under GOP Health Plan

Many in Texas are keeping a close eye on the Republican bid to replace the Affordable Care Act. One of the big changes is...
About 1.2 million L.A. county residents have signed up for Medi-Cal under the ACA's Medicaid expansion.

L.A. County Health Chief Wants To ‘Catch’ People Dropped From Coverage

Los Angeles County arguably has more to lose than any other California county if the Affordable Care Act is repealed or dramatically scaled back. With...
Bunkosky, a Republican, views the ACA unfavorably but believes Washington should fix it, not toss it. He supports keeping some of the law’s Medicaid coverage for low-income people and its prohibition on discriminating against those with preexisting illness. This week Trump acknowledged that health care is “so complicated.” So are voter opinions on what to do next with the ACA, which expanded coverage to some 20 million. “I didn’t like that it mandated people to carry health insurance. And I thought it was just a lie” when it promised affordability, said Amber Alexander, 27, a Pennsylvania independent whose seasonal income puts her on Medicaid in winter and a commercial plan the rest of the year. However, she said, “I don’t think it should be thrown out altogether. There are people that do benefit from it, but there are also a lot of people that get screwed.” Carol Friendly, 67, is an Oregon Republican who voted for Hillary Clinton for president and favors the health law’s Medicaid expansion, which many Republican policymakers excoriated but has gained support among some GOP governors. She objects to the ACA’s reproductive health coverage, saying consumers opposed to birth control and abortion shouldn’t have to pay for them. On the other hand, “I know it put 22 million in the health care system that weren’t there before,” she said. “So that’s a plus.” Adding to the political fog are mixed signals from Republicans. For weeks, Trump has been promising — but not yet producing — a blueprint detailing his plan to repeal and replace the ACA with “insurance for everybody.” In his Feb. 28 address to Congress, he said a new law “should ensure that Americans with preexisting conditions have access to coverage.” But a leaked GOP draft replacement in Congress would shrink coverage subsidies, and House conservatives complained even those were still too expensive. Just this week, congressional Republicans told reporters they were still working on “the best way to build a consensus to pass a bill to gut Obamacare.” For many helped by the health law, such a prospect has focused minds and aroused fears and may account for its rising popularity, said Simon Haeder, a political science professor and specialist on health policy at West Virginia University. “Now that we have this whole debate on replacing, repealing, repairing — whatever you want to call it — more and more of this information is coming out on what the ACA does and how it’s benefited people,” he said. “Now that’s entering the public conversation.” I think once Trumpcare comes out, we’re screwed. Franchesca Serrano, a single mom living in Florida ACA beneficiaries and activists flooded town halls held by Republican congressmen during their February recess, urging them not to repeal the law. “My story thus far has been one who has benefited from the system,” said Michael Bilodeau, 39, who attended two town halls by California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock. “We are able to see our local doctor, who we like. And our premiums have been, I would say, stable.” He co-owns a small business with his wife and is on a plan from Covered California, the state’s online marketplace. “One of the Republicans’ major arguments is that the ACA brought disruption to people’s health care,” Bilodeau said. “It feels like we’re headed toward another disruption.” Many middle- and lower-income Republicans benefit from the health law’s Medicaid expansion and marketplace subsidies. Forty-three percent of Republicans and 57 percent of independents say Medicaid is important to their family, according to the latest tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Many who thought Obamacare was only marketplace plans may be realizing Medicaid coverage is also in jeopardy. That’s a political hazard for Republicans who would abolish it, said Mark Peterson, a political science professor at UCLA. “A lot of that base would be most adversely affected by repealing the ACA and replacing it with something that left enormous holes for the working class,” he said. Medicaid beneficiaries “begin to recognize how they’re put at risk, and they begin talking to friends and colleagues and it becomes quite real.” Some Republican voters object to the ACA not because it expanded coverage but because it did so in such a complex way, with sliding subsidies and reliance on private insurers selling expensive plans with narrow doctor networks. “It would have been better if the federal government had said, look, to get these 20 million insured let’s just expand Medicaid nationwide and let’s leave everybody else alone,” said Rickey Mathis, 56, a Georgian who voted for Trump and hasn’t had insurance since the factory employing him closed in 2012. “Why did they have to screw up the whole country’s health insurance?” Franchesca Serrano, 31, looked at marketplace plans in Florida, where she lives, but they “really wouldn’t cover anything” because of large deductibles — the care costs that patients pay before insurance kicks in. “Any of the referrals I needed, blood work I needed done, it would have needed to come out-of-pocket — a lot.” She’s a single mother who voted for Clinton. Her 2-year-old twins are on Medicaid, which she said is “way better than just the Obamacare” sold through the marketplaces. She’s not expecting any improvements. “I think once Trumpcare comes out, we’re screwed,” she said. Michigan’s Bunkosky, a contractor for heating and air conditioning, urged Republicans to think hard about any Obamacare replacement. “Everybody’s in a hurry for it, but they need to sit down and do it right,” he said. “Some of it is still a good idea. You shouldn’t have to worry about preexisting conditions.”

With ‘Trumpcare’ On Horizon, Voters Go Wobbly On Repeal

As candidate Donald Trump hammered the Affordable Care Act last year as “a fraud,” “a total disaster” and “very bad health insurance,” more Americans...
medicaid

For New Medicaid Patients, The Doctor Is In (Generally). But You May Have To...

More than 14 million adults have enrolled in Medicaid since the health law passed, and that has caused some hand-wringing over whether there would be...
Chuck Duarte on Affordable Care Act

Nevada Depends On Affordable Care Act

Congress is quickly moving to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – referred to as “Obamacare.” There may be problems with the ACA, but...
health law amendments

Health Law Amendments Intend To Close Insurance Loopholes

Proposed amendments to the Health Insurance Law aim to ensure dental coverage is honored for insurance card holders and to prevent healthcare insurers from...
trump and ryan health care

Trump Laid Out Changes He Wants To Make In U.S. Health Care Policies

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has laid out changes he wants to make in U.S. health care policies, but his Republican colleagues in Congress remain...