Affordable Care Act

Donald Trump makes first speech to the UN
Richard Drew / AP Photo - 2017

After multiple failed attempts by Republican leaders to repeal the Affordable Care Act, GOP lawmakers are back with their newest repeal effort. The Graham-Cassidy bill would cap funding to Medicaid, and many opponents say it would leave millions of people without healthcare coverage. 

Donald Trump Jr.
Richard Drew / AP - 2017

Senate Republican leaders unveiled the newest version of their health care bill intended to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The new bill differs from the Senate’s last attempt in a few significant ways, namely a resurrection of two Obama-era taxes on high-income individuals. 

Two of about 140 protesters who rallied in front of Senator Thom Tillis' office in downtown Raleigh.
Jess Clark / WUNC

More than one hundred protesters rallied outside Senator Thom Tillis' Raleigh office Tuesday afternoon calling for the Republican senator to reject his party's bill to replace Obamacare.

The U.S. Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 27, 2017, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. faces challenges within his own party this week in advancing the Republican health care bill.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare. The long-awaited plan marks a big step toward achieving one of the Republican Party's major goals.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina headquarters in Durham.
BCBSNC

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina filed to increase Affordable Care Act premiums by 22.9 percent next year.

Walter Jones, who represents North Carolina’s Third Congressional District, was the only Republican in this state to vote against a bill that will repeal portions of Obamacare.

"Most of the reason is that we don’t have an updated Congressional Budget Office score," he told WUNC as the bill passed 217-213.

"The last day or two, leadership has talked to me about it, (asked me), 'What would it take to get your vote?' They are cutting deals with members of Congress, tweaking this and tweaking that, and you don’t know what the costs are going to be."

Rep. Mark Meadows
United States Congress

President Donald Trump's defeat may be U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows's victory. The North Carolina Republican is enjoying an outpouring of support from conservatives in his home district.

Meadows represents the 11th Congressional District in western North Carolina. He is also head of the Freedom Caucus, the conservative bloc in Congress that scuttled the president's plan for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as Obamacare.

Flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives are expected to vote on the American Health Care Act Thursday. The bill would replace the Affordable Care Act, former President Obama’s signature legislation. Approval of the AHCA would mean approximately 24 million people could lose health care coverage by 2026, according to an estimate released last week by the Congressional Budget Office. 

Women and their supporters turned out in droves for the Women's March on Raleigh on January 21, 2017.
Jess Clark / WUNC

The Women’s March on Washington last weekend and sister marches around the world brought the feminist movement into the limelight once again. But 2017 feminism looks very different from its 1960s counterpart. The intersectionality of women's experiences are being moved to the forefront of the cause. Since his start in office, President Donald Trump has signed documents which will impact women’s health and rights.

Affordable Care Act enrollment has increased in North Carolina.
U.S. Health and Human Services

Beginning this week, hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians will again shop for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act exchange.

Entering 2017, however, shoppers in this state will see fewer options than in previous years.

UNC Hospital
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Across North Carolina, health systems will again face penalties because too many patients returned to hospitals shortly after being discharged.

In fact, hospitals will pay higher penalties in 2017 than any year in history.

photo of a stethoscope
Wesley Wilson / Pexels

When the Affordable Care Act went into effect, the federal government hoped visits to the Emergency Room - some of the most expensive treatments in the industry - would decrease.

Instead, ER visits are rising. Experts blame the spike on patients who have health insurance for the first time and have yet to visit a primary care physician.

A picture of the BCBS NC Headquarters in Durham.
Jed Record / flickr.com/photos/jedstr/14797220372

Customers of the state's largest health insurance company who get their coverage through the Affordable Care Act might pay more in 2017.

Officials with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina have asked state regulators for a nearly 19 percent rate increase for customers who buy coverage through www.healthcare.gov.

Image of children eating lunch
U.S. Department of Agriculture

A report out of Duke University says the Great Recession had a multi-year negative impact on child well-being in America.

Though the recession occurred from 2007-2009, children felt the effects from the downturn through 2012.

Blue Cross Blue Shield pen
frankieleon / Flickr Creative Commons

Enrollment errors with Blue Cross and Blue Shield created challenges for 25,000 customers. Several factors contributed to the problem including an extension to sign up for the Affordable Care Act and a software transfer within Blue Cross.

Latino child
Lillian Zepeda / Flickr Creative Commons

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has helped close the health insurance gap for North Carolina's Latino children, according to a national report.

Ashley Hentze, left, of Lakeland, Fla., gets help signing up for the Affordable Care Act from Kristen Nash, a volunteer with Enroll America, a private, non-profit organization running a grassroots campaign to encourage people to sign up for health care, T
Chris O'Meara / ASSOCIATED PRESS

It's the last day to sign up for a health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act that begins January 1.

Physician Assistant, Duke Medicine, Rural Health
Leoneda Inge

This is the Affordable Care Act’s third open enrollment season and Obama Administration officials expect at least one million more people will enroll by the end of next year. 

The increase in the country’s insured population has resulted in major growth in one profession in particular – the physician assistant. This year, Duke University is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Physician Assistant Program, the oldest in the country.

doctor, child, health child health
Courtesy of Pixbay.com

Child health insurance coverage in North Carolina is at a record high of nearly 95 percent, and researchers at Georgetown University say the increase is thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

A picture of a stack of cash, a stethoscope and a piggy bank.
401kcalculator.org / Flickr

Open enrollment began this week for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. North Carolinians will see some of the highest premium increases in the nation for individual and small group plans.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield will be allowed to charge an average of 32.5 percent more next year for individual plans, and six percent more for small groups. Aetna will be able to charge individual customers an average of nearly 24 percent more per month.

Doctor payoffs
Mike Licht / Flickr Creative Commons

Physicians earn their livings from patient care, but for many, fees are not their only source of income.

New data released under the Affordable Care Act shows how much individual doctors receive from pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Several physicians in the Triangle receive thousands of dollars.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Triangle Business Journal reporter Jason deBruyn about the fees and access to the data.

Blue Cross Blue Shield pen
frankieleon / Flickr Creative Commons

The Affordable Care Act was designed to give more access to healthcare at lower costs. But the state’s largest health insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, has requested a rate increase of more than 34% for patients enrolled in the ACA plans.

The company says it needs the additional revenue to offset increasing costs. The request, along with increase requests from other insurers, will be considered by the North Carolina Insurance commissioner.

Image of stethoscope
Dr. Farouk / Flickr Creative Commons

People who live in rural North Carolina are still more likely to suffer from serious health problems than their urban counterparts. Rural counties show higher rates of heart disease and obesity, and rural residents have a lower life expectancy.

The recent closures of rural hospitals around the state makes those residents even more vulnerable. Research shows that systemic problems like slow economic development and spotty insurance coverage also contribute to rural health disparities.

A picture of a dctor holding a stethoscope.
Alex Proimos / Flickr

North Carolina lawmakers have chosen to not expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act.

Republican state leaders, including Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, have said that, even if the federal government initially subsidizes new people enrolling in Medicaid, the program would eventually cost the state more than it saves.

An image of the Supreme Court
Kjetil Ree / Wikimedia Commons

The United States Supreme Court issued a decision today upholding tax subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the court's opinion.

Three justices, the court's most conservative members, dissented. The decision allows 460,000 North Carolinians to continue to receive subsidies for their health insurance.

Image of tools in doctor's office
Morgan / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Affordable Care Act is still attracting big enrollment numbers in North Carolina.

Nearly 500,000 people in the state have coverage, but premiums could rise by as much as 40 percent next year for some health plans.

   

And the Obama administration says more than 300,000 people still are not covered because the state did not expand Medicaid. 

Dr. Richard Bock, a vascular surgeon, listens on speaker phone to another surgeon who is asking for advice before starting bypass surgery.
William Woody / wwoody@citizen-times.com

Mission Health System dominates the healthcare field in Western North Carolina, owning or partnering with six hospitals and controlling more than 40 percent of hospital beds in Western North Carolina. The nonprofit company began its expansion in the 1990s. It absorbed small rural hospitals struggling to foot the bill for an aging, low-income and underinsured population in Western North Carolina. 

On Tax Day, The State of Things talks changes in North Carolina's tax laws.
Ken Teegarden / Flickr Creative Commons

Many North Carolinians are spending April 15 finishing up their income tax statements.

But others have already noticed a few surprises on their returns due to changes in the state tax code and subsidies from the Affordable Care Act. The revisions mean higher or lower tax bills for thousands of taxpayers.

Supreme Court building, Washington, DC, USA. Front facade.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Daderot

The U.S Supreme Court will take up a case this week that potentially puts half a million North Carolinians at risk of losing their subsidized health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

In King v. Burwellthe high court will examine whether the federal government can assist in paying insurance premiums for all Americans or if it can only offer funds in states that have created their own health care exchanges.

Image of tools in doctor's office
Morgan / Flickr/Creative Commons

State health secretary Aldona Wos says North Carolina would likely need to change some of its Medicaid rules to expand the program under the Affordable Care Act. 

The health care law offered to pay for expanded Medicaid through 2016, but North Carolina was one of 24 states that rejected the expansion last year.  Gov. Pat McCrory said the state's Medicaid program was broken, and was not confident the federal government would cover the costs. 

But Wos says Medicaid is now more stable, and she plans to present the governor with options for expanding Medicaid. 

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