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Affordable Care Act

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Missouri will have to cough up more than $300,000 in attorney's fees after losing a case over a state law barring insurance navigators from giving advice about health plans.

Although he sliced about $128,000 from the bill, U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith ruled that Missouri must pay the legal fees of the victorious plaintiffs.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Missouri and Kansas have joined 18 other states in seeking to have the Affordable Care Act declared unconstitutional following Congress’ repeal last year of the tax penalty associated with the individual mandate.

In a lawsuit filed late Monday in federal court in Texas, the coalition of 20 mostly red states claimed that the elimination of the tax penalty for those who don’t buy health insurance renders the entire healthcare law unconstitutional.

Allison Shelley

Longtime health reporter Julie Rovner is chief Washington correspondent for Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit news service providing in-depth coverage of health care policy and politics. Before joining KHN, Rovner was a health reporter for 16 years at NPR, where she helped lead coverage of the enactment and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. 

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

Entrepreneurs Keely Edgington and Beau Williams, owners of a Westport bar called Julep, say that the Affordable Care Act has been an easy, inexpensive way for them to get health insurance. 

Having insurance has been critical for the married couple. Their daughter Lula was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 when she was nine months old. Even with insurance, the family needed help from friends and family to pay her medical costs.

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

December 1 means the countdown is on, and we're not talking about Christmas. With just two weeks left for open enrollment on the federal health care marketplace, our experts are back to help answer all your "how" questions. Then, a conversation about America's favorite meat.

File photo

Centene Corp. has agreed to offer individual marketplace coverage under the Affordable Care Act to patients who receive care at The University of Kansas Health System.

Until now, the KU Health System, which includes the University of Kansas Hospital, was not covered in-network under any of the individual marketplace plans offered in 2018 in the Kansas City area.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City had previously covered the hospital, the largest in Kansas, but the insurer in May said it would not offer individual plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2018.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Despite several unsuccessful attempts to repeal Obamacare outright, Pres. Donald Trump has made substantial changes in how the healthcare exchange works. Today, we discuss those changes, and how they're affecting folks who depend on the Affordable Care Act. Then, the City School Fair wants to make Kansas City, Missouri parents aware of all the possibilities for K-12 education that don't require moving to the suburbs.

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Two community health care providers in the Lawrence area hope a merger will help them offer stable medical resources to more residents of the Douglas County region.

Health Care Access, which has served the poor and uninsured of Douglas County for 29 years, will merge early next year with Heartland Community Health Center, a federally qualified health center that serves the same area. Both will fall under the Heartland name.

agilemktg1 / Flickr — CC

There’s some good news and some bad news for Missourians purchasing marketplace healthcare plans under the Affordable Care Act.

The good news: Those eligible for premium subsidies will see no increase in their premiums. In fact, a 40-year-old non-smoker earning $30,000 a year will see a 2.7 percent reduction of his or her premiums to $201 a month.

The bad news: Those not eligible for subsidies will see premium increases ranging from 12 percent to 50 percent for the benchmark silver plan.

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

Geneva Wilson has struggled her entire life with health problems, including a blood disorder, depression and a painful misalignment of the hip joint called hip dysplasia. But she’s found peace living in a small cabin in the woods of western Missouri.

Wilson keeps chickens, raises rabbits and has a garden. She says her long-term goal is to live off her land by selling what she raises at farmers’ markets.

Courtesy Kansas Health Institute

Low-income Kansans are less likely to have health insurance than their counterparts in other states, according to an analysis of new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Alex Smith / KCUR

Stinson Dean, an entrepreneur from Independence, Missouri, is used to risks. He buys Canadian softwood framing lumber to sell to lumberyards in the US and says coping with the ups and downs of the market is an inevitable part of doing business.

But when he started the company about a year and a half ago, he laid down a firm rule.

“One of the things I wasn’t willing to risk was the health of my family,” Dean says.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

The Affordable Care Act marketplace will be a mixed bag for Kansas consumers seeking health insurance for 2018.

Some will pay more for coverage, some less. And some will purchase new plans for which there is no price-point comparison.

In Missouri, insurers are proposing some hefty rate hikes.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Facing what could be a tough race for re-election, Kansas Congressman Kevin Yoder appeared determined to strike a bipartisan tone Tuesday night in his first in-person town hall meeting since last year’s election.

He stressed the importance of civility and working across the aisle several times during the meeting sponsored by the Kansas City Star, touting his work with Democrats to expand child-care tax credits and strengthen privacy laws.

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President Donald Trump and Republican congressional leaders came up short in their initial efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says they’re still working to engineer its failure.

In a recent interview, Sebelius, who spearheaded implementation of the ACA, said she knows that the law isn’t perfect. But she said it would be working better if Republicans would stop undermining it.

“The notion that this law is imploding is just not accurate,” Sebelius said.

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

Many health care advocates breathed a sigh a relief after the Senate’s recent efforts to scrap the Affordable Care Act failed in late July.

But local and national participants in a rally at Kansas City’s City Hall Wednesday afternoon had a message for those concerned about the fate of healthcare: Don’t let up.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Editor's note: This story was updated at 7:20 a.m. July 26.

Despite misgivings about the closed-door process used to write a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and its potential impact on rural health care providers, Republican U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran joined his Kansas counterpart, Pat Roberts, in voting Tuesday to begin debate on the legislation.

But a short time later, Moran was one of nine GOP senators who voted against a replacement bill backed by Republican leaders.

Frank Morris / KCUR

Updated: This story was updated at 11:15 a.m. to add the latest developments following news Moran will support a new plan to repeal the ACA. 

The mood of a rally outside Sen. Jerry Moran's Olathe office suddenly turned after it was announced the Kansas Republican had come out in support of an evolving GOP plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act before setting to work on a replacement plan. 

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

UPDATE: In Washington, D.C. Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran issued a statement saying that he would support President Donald Trump's efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement.  That news quickly turned the mood of a demonstration at Moran's office in Olathe where opponents of the now failed replacement bill had been thanking the senator from Kansas for standing firm against it.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran’s silence Thursday on the GOP’s revised bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act prompted one Capitol Hill reporter to refer to him as a “mystery man.”

Several Republican senators who either opposed or had concerns about an initial draft of the bill commented on changes unveiled Thursday by GOP leaders in an effort to gain votes.

But not Moran.

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The number of Native Americans without health insurance would increase sharply if Republicans in Congress succeed in repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, according to a new report.

Urban Institute

Kansas’ uninsured rate would be 35 percent higher by 2022 under the Senate’s health care proposal than under the Affordable Care Act, according to an analysis by the Urban Institute.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran is opposed to a bill crafted in secret by Republican leaders to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

But speaking to an overflow crowd at a town hall meeting Thursday in northwest Kansas, Moran said he is open to supporting a revised version if GOP leaders can address his concerns.

“I would be anxious to see if that bill can get to the point in which I think it’s beneficial for Kansas,” Moran said.

Broch Slabach

The health care plan unveiled last month by the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate met with fierce opposition from hospital, doctor and patient advocacy groups. Among them was the National Rural Health Association, which is based in Leawood, Kansas, and represents doctors, nurses and hospitals in rural areas nationwide. 

Paul Sableman / Creative Commons-Flickr

Centene Corp. will step into the breach created by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City’s decision last month to exit the Affordable Care Act marketplace in 2018.

The Clayton, Mo.-based insurer will begin selling health plans next year in all 25 western Missouri counties that Blue KC’s withdrawal would have left “bare” — that is, without any insurer offering health plans in the individual market. 

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Paul Sableman / Creative Commons-Flickr

Insurance is all about predicting the future, so with the future of the Affordable Care Act in flux, uncertainty about what’s going to happen has made 2017 a tricky year for insurance companies.

United States Mission Geneva / Wikipedia Commons

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.”

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

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. 

Kaiser Family Foundation

Just 31 percent of Kansans and 32 percent of Missourians support the House-approved bill to repeal Obamacare, according to new estimates published Wednesday in The New York Times

In fact, not one state has a majority of residents who are for the measure, with support ranging from a low of 22 percent in Massachusetts (Washington, D.C., is even lower at 16 percent) to a high of 38 percent in Oklahoma, according to the estimates.

Three weeks after Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City said it will pull out of the Affordable Care Act exchange in 2018, Centene Corp. says it plans to offer coverage through the exchange in Missouri and Kansas.

The St. Louis-based insurer already has a presence in both states administering Medicaid plans, but the move to sell individual and small group health plans is new.

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