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affordable care act

The U.S. Capitol.
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The Affordable Care Act is shaping up to be one of the first big battles of the new congressional session. Republicans have promised to repeal it. Democrats are girded to defend it. And there’s a lot at stake for Michigan.

Republicans have still not agreed on what will replace Obamacare. But they say something needs to be done to make healthcare more affordable, and the law has not solved that problem.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In the days leading up to president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, Michigan doctors and parents are speaking out against one of his biggest promises.

Trump and many Republicans in Congress are promising to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.

Those against “Obamacare” say its premiums are too high and it doesn’t provide enough choice. But at a press conference on Monday, several Michigan doctors and patients spoke out in favor of the Act, particularly how it helps children with cancer.

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What happens to the state’s economy when 600,000 more Michiganders get health insurance, thanks to the state’s Medicaid expansion – AKA the Health Michigan plan that’s part of the Affordable Care Act?

According to Dr. John Ayanian, professor and director of the Institute of Healthy Policy and Innovation the University of Michigan, you get about 30,000 new jobs a year.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s hospital administrators are concerned what will happen if Congress repeals Obamacare in 2017.

Repealing the Affordable Care Act tops the agenda for Republicans after the new congress is sworn in during the first week in January. 

But the Michigan Health and Hospital Association is concerned what will happen if Obamacare is repealed without a replacement strategy ready to take its place.

The association points out, between 2010 and 2019, Michigan hospitals will lose about $7 billion in reduced Medicare reimbursements.  

Protestors stand outside U.S. Congressman Dave Trott's office in Troy.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

About 40 protestors rallied outside Republican Congressman David Trott's office in Troy Tuesday, holding signs that read "Don't Take My Medicare or Medicaid."

The protestors urged Trott to think twice about repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Trott is in favor of repealing Obamacare. He says there should be more competition among insurance providers, which he says would mean lower costs for Michigan residents. 

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the GOP replacement for the Affordable Care Act will mean the number of uninsured Americans would grow by 24 million by 2026.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new study says nearly 1.7 million people in Michigan were uninsurable before the Affordable Care Act.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit that publishes non-partisan medical information, estimates that 28% of non-elderly Michigan adults have preexisting conditions that were uninsurable before the Affordable Care Act.

Cynthia Cox, is with the Kaiser Family Foundation, said many of these people get insurance through their job.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report finds, despite improved access to health insurance, a large number of poor Michiganders still fall in and out of coverage.

The University of Michigan’s Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation looked at something called “churning”.  Churning is when individuals pass from one health insurer to another, either by changing plans or entering and exiting Medicaid.

Marianne Udow Philips is the center’s director. She says there remains a lot of health insurance instability.

Doctor's office
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Tuesday, Michiganders will start signing up for health insurance coverage under the next round of Obamacare.

Many will find fewer choices and more expensive policies to choose from.

Nearly 400,000 Michiganders got health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplace. But in Michigan, the next round of Obamacare is offering fewer choices and a nearly 17% increase in rates next year.

"It’s not perfect, it does need to be fixed," said Udow-Phillips on the Affordable Care Act. "But it’s a place to start from.”
Flickr user/Images Money / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Word came from the federal government this week: premiums for popular health plans sold on healthcare.gov are going up an average of 25% next year.

And, depending on where you live, you may have fewer choices when shopping on the exchange.

Bruce LaBrecque says there are so many painful issues that a woman's OBGYN might be reluctant to ask about that can be treated with physical therapy.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The next round of Obamacare will cost more for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders who get their health insurance through the federal program.

Four fewer companies are offering health insurance plans through Michigan’s Affordable Care Act marketplace next year.  That will directly affect about 10,000 Michiganders currently covered by plans offered by those companies.

Surgeons operating on patient in operating room
Phalinn Ooi / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

It's been more than two years since the Healthy Michigan Plan opened the Medicaid rolls to over 600,000 low-income Michiganders. What has this meant for the financial health of Michigan's hospitals and health plans?

According to Jay Greene of Crain's Detroit Business, the numbers show that hospitals are thriving under the Affordable Care Act and the Healthy Michigan Plan.

When the Affordable Care Act became law, many thought hospitals would be overwhelmed by new patients. The data show otherwise.
Flickr user Lisa Larson-Walker/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Healthy Michigan Plan launched in April 2014. It opened the Medicaid rolls to hundreds of thousands of low-income people for the first time. And no one was quite sure what to expect.

There were widely held fears that the flood of previously uninsured people would make it harder for everyone to get doctor's appointments, and that hospitals would be overloaded with seriously sick patients who, until then, didn't have insurance coverage.

Now, two years down the road, there's enough data for experts to study and analyze.

piggy bank, stethescope, and bundle of money
flickr user 401(K) 2012 / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The insurance companies offering health plans on Michigan's public exchange have a collective eye fixed on January 1, 2017.

That's when they hope they'll be able to start charging, on average, 17.2% more for individual health insurance plans.

Marianne Udow-Phillips joined us today to talk about what's behind these hefty rate increase requests.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Rates could be going up next year for people who buy health insurance on Michigan's public exchange.

More than a dozen companies have submitted requests for rate changes to the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (you can see the requests here). The companies that sell to the largest share of the individual market are Blue Care Network with a 14.8% requested increase, Blue Cross Blue Shield at 18.7%, and Priority Health at 13.9%.

The average increase is 17.2%.

Most religions have some basic creed all members are supposed to profess. Many political parties do as well.

I’m not sure what that would be for Democrats these days.

But for today’s Republicans, one basic article of faith is bitter opposition to the Affordable Care Act, perhaps better known as Obamacare.

Virtually every Republican running for federal office has vowed to work to repeal Obamacare.

Actually, they usually say “repeal and replace,” though they are usually pretty vague about what, if anything, they’d replace it with.

Gov. Snyder's proposed budget would set aside over $100 million for the Healthy Michigan plan
Zoe Clark / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder’s new budget contains over $100 million for Healthy Michigan.

That’s a reminder that it’s time for the state of Michigan to pony up some of the Medicaid expansion program’s operation cost. That Healthy Michigan program means health insurance for some 600,000 lower-income Michiganders.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michiganders can expect to pay a little more for health insurance as the next round of Obamacare starts today.

Government officials say the cost of a benchmark plan in Michigan on HealthCare.gov will increase 1.2% for 2016 coverage. Consumers could start choosing plans Sunday through the online marketplace and have until Dec. 15 to buy coverage if they want it to start Jan. 1.

There must be Republican strategists who are secretly relieved and happy that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the subsidies that help millions buy health insurance.

Had they ruled the other way, not only would millions of people have lost coverage, but it would have caused immense problems for a private health insurance market that has changed the way it does business to comply with the Affordable Care Act, usually known as Obamacare. Opponents were hoping the high court would invalidate the subsidies based largely on semantics.

The U.S. Supreme Court.
Supreme Court of the United States

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of one of the central parts of the Affordable Care Act, keeping the law in place in states throughout the country.

Their decision comes three years after the high court upheld the constitutionality of the law.

The case before the court, King v. Burwell, centered on health care exchanges run by the federal government – as is the case in Michigan.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan hospitals may pay a price if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a key provision of the Affordable Care Act.

King v. Burwell is one of the final seven cases before the high court this term.   

The case involves a challenge to a specific portion of the federal health care insurance law dealing with federal subsidies. 

FLICKR USER SOURTHERNTABITHA / FLICKR

Five years ago today, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. It’s the law widely known as “Obamacare.”

The University of Michigan’s Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation decided to see what Obamacare has meant for Michigan and the results of their survey are out today.

If Marianne Udow-Phillips, director of the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation, had to grade the ACA, it would earn “certainly no lower than a B.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

New federal numbers show 70,000 more Michiganders signed up for health insurance through Obamacare this year compared to last year. 

Roughly 88% of the 341,000 are getting a federal subsidy. But the U.S. Supreme Court will decide soon if those subsidies are legal.  

Gov. Rick Snyder formed a workgroup that made 69 recommendations on how the state of Michigan should manage and improve its mental health care system. The question is, how many of those recommendations will be turned into actual policies?
gophouse.com

Gov. Rick Snyder says there’s no backup plan to boost road funding if voters reject a sales tax increase in May.

Snyder urged listeners to vote “yes” on the measure during an appearance on Michigan Public Radio’s statewide call-in program “Michigan Calling.”

Gov. Rick Snyder formed a workgroup that made 69 recommendations on how the state of Michigan should manage and improve its mental health care system. The question is, how many of those recommendations will be turned into actual policies?
gophouse.com

Governor Rick Snyder was at the Michigan Radio studios earlier today for a special call-in program, taking your questions. The show was hosted by Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He is also the co-host along with Zoe Clark of It's Just Politics.

A piggy bank, stethescope and bundle of one dollar bills
401(k) 2013 / Flickr

If you tried to sign up for health coverage before the Feb. 15 deadline, but couldn't because of computer glitches and hotline issues, now you’ve got an extra week.

The feds are giving Michiganders a grace period until Feb. 22 because there were so many problems with the Obamacare sign-up.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Time is running out for Michiganders who still need to sign up for health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act. 

February 15th is the deadline to sign up or face a penalty.

The initial roll out of Obamacare was marked by numerous problems.  Computer glitches frustrated tens of thousands of Michiganders who tried to log on to the online marketplace. 

“If you want to make some kind of comparison, the glitches this year are almost non-existent,” says Dizzy Warren, with Enroll Michigan.

She says the second year of Obamacare has gone much smoother than the first.

DETROIT - Federal health officials say about 300,000 Michigan residents have signed up for health care through the federal exchange, most with financial help.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell told reporters Tuesday that the 299,750 sign-ups as of Jan. 16 represent those who have selected a health plan or re-enrolled, not paid. Of those, 33% enrolled for the first time.

Marianne Udow-Phillips is Director of the University of Michigan's Center for Healthcare Research.
user mudowp / Twitter

Marianne Udow-Phillips, Director of the UM Center for Healthcare Research, is not making any more predictions. 

At least, not about health insurance coverage rates in Michigan.

Alex Proimos / flickr

Most Michigan patients should be able to access primary care doctors - even though the Affordable Care Act means more people are likely looking for appointments.

Nine out of ten Michigan primary care doctors say they have capacity for new patients. And almost two-thirds say they are accepting new Medicaid patients.  That's according to a 2014 survey conducted by the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation.

Satori World Medical / Flickr

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act is in its second year. Many of the benchmark plans that were available for 2014 are changing for 2015.

How has enrollment been going and what do we need to know as we enroll? Marianne Udow-Phillips is the Director of the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation at the University of Michigan.

*Listen to Udow-Phillips above.

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