affordable care act

healthcare.gov / YouTube

It’s been more than a month since the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplace has open, and to say the rollout has been problematic would be an understatement.

With the glitch-ridden healthcare.gov website, and the natural confusion that comes with breaking new ground, it’s no wonder that many insurance-seekers don’t even know where to begin to find health insurance under the ACA.

Enter Don Hazaert, the director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare. MCH is one of four navigator agencies in Michigan for Obamacare.

But what does a navigator do? What can’t they do? And where do Michiganders stand with their healthcare?

Hazaert met with us in the studio, to discuss how those looking for coverage for Michigan actually do it.

For more information, visit enrollmichigan.com or any of the websites below:

consumersforhealthcare.org

communitybridgesihc.com

accesscommunity.org

aihfs.org

Listen to the full interview above.

use: dougwoods / Flickr

Yesterday, the Department of Heath and Human Services released a detailed enrollment report on the number of people who looked for insurance coverage from October 1 to November 2.

The number of people who enrolled in coverage is low.

According to the report, 23,987 applications were completed in Michigan. Of those completed applications, only 1,329 enrolled in a plan.

What's the difference between 'completed application' and 'enrollment?'

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

More than 436,000 Michigan residents will qualify for tax subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, according to a report released today from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

According to the study, 17 million Americans are eligible for tax credits that will lower their cost of coverage.

Most of those eligible folks come from states with high populations: Texas, for instance, is estimated to have over 2 million residents who would qualify for subsidies.

California’s not far behind with $1.9 million.

Michigan is home to five national parks and there are lots of open spaces where you can camp, hunt and enjoy nature. But, yesterday, an Oklahoma Senator recently said two Michigan landmarks are a prime example of wasteful federal spending. We found out what’s behind the senator’s reasoning and whether there is some truth to his concerns.

 Then, we took a look at a new proposal by a group of Democrats in the Michigan House that would require the state to determine the actual cost of educating a public school student in Michigan. That got us thinking, shouldn't we already know?  We also spoke with Michigan writer Donald Lystra about his new collection of short stories. And, Ann Arbor now has its own Death Café, organized by funeral home guide Merilynne Rush. She stopped by to tell us more about it. But, first on the show, ever since the government unveiled its healthcare.gov website, the headlines surrounding the Affordable Care Act have been about the problems with the way the site was designed and the extreme difficulty Americans have had in getting on the exchange. But what about the Americans that don't need healthcare.gov? The ones who already have plans? To those consumers, President Obama has been saying this since 2009:

“If you like your current insurance, you will keep your current insurance. No government takeover, nobody’s changing what you’ve got if you’re happy with it.”

So why, then, then are some 2 million Americans - about 140,000 in Michigan - getting cancelation letters from their insurers over the past couple of weeks?

Marianne Udow-Phillips directs the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation, a non-profit partnership between the University of Michigan and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan. She joined us today.

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

Ever since the government unveiled its healthcare.gov website, the headlines surrounding the Affordable Care Act have been about the problems with the way the site was designed and the extreme difficulty Americans have had in getting on the exchange to shop for health insurance.

But, what about the Americans that don't need healthcare.gov? The ones who already have plans? Some 14 million consumers buy their own insurance individually.

And to those consumers, President Obama has been saying this since 2009:

“If you like your current insurance, you will keep your current insurance. No government takeover, nobody’s changing what you’ve got if you’re happy with it.”

So why, then, are some 2 million Americans - about 140,000 in Michigan - getting cancelation letters from their insurers?

Marianne Udow-Phillips directs the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation, a non-profit partnership between the University of Michigan and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan. She joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

photo by Anna Strumillo Phuket - Thailand / www.fotopedia.com

The state and federal healthcare exchanges are, of course, a big chapter in the overhaul of the American healthcare model - a model that's very different from many other countries around the world.

The BBC's Alice Castle has lived in the U.S. and the United Kingdom. She's had the experience of being pregnant in both countries.

Click the audio above to listen to her unique perspective on the American healthcare system.

healthcare.gov

You know you’ve got a problem when people start a thread on Reddit titled, “How not to optimize a website.

One Reddit commenter writes...

Dropdowns. That's what killed Obamacare!

The online healthcare exchanges have been plagued with problems since they opened.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The last time the government was shut down in 1995-1996, it was clear where the leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives was coming from. Then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich led the "Republican Revolution" in a showdown against former President Bill Clinton.

Today, just who the flag bearers are for the House Republicans is much less clear.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s new online healthcare exchange went live today, meaning Michiganders would now have the opportunity to check out healthcare plans and subsidies available to them under the Affordable Care Act.

But the launch didn’t go without a couple of hiccups.

As the exchanges went live on the web, consumers encountered error messages, saying the high traffic to the exchanges would mean delays with actually looking at the plans.

healthcare.gov / YouTube

Today is the first day people can shop for health care plans at healthcare.gov

There are 73 health plans available on the exchange. These plans were approved by the federal and state governments.

Over the next six months, residents can enroll in the program. More from the Associated Press:

People earning between 100 and 400 percent of the poverty line will qualify for tax credits to offset monthly premiums. Besides the uninsured, small businesses and those who buy their own insurance may shop on the exchange. 

A former student who shares my appreciation of history told me last night that he had found one high-ranking Republican who would have opposed the government shutdown. That gentleman, who once made a famous speech in Kalamazoo, told fellow Republicans in New York “I see that some, at least, of you are those who believe that an election being decided against them is no reason why they should sink the ship.“

That’s a good and reasonable philosophy of government. Unfortunately, the man who said that, himself a former Congressman, is Abraham Lincoln, and he happens to be dead. Lincoln said those words while struggling to save the nation from breaking apart just before his first inauguration. The fault was with Democrats then.

To an increasing number of people, the shutdown of the federal government today is the fault of the Republicans. To me, the nature of what is happening ought to be pretty frightening regardless of who is to blame.

Republicans in Congress are saying they won’t allow the government to be funded unless the President and Congress agree to stop the Affordable Care Act from taking effect this year.

Courtesy of Children First

Michigan's new healthcare exchange goes live next Tuesday (October 1), and the White House put out a sneek peak of sorts.

It’s a snapshot of prices Michiganders could pay for what are expected to be some of the most popular plans.

In terms of cost, Michigan is projected to be below the national average.

user anna / Flickr

A Michigan CEO says he'll ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a law requiring employers to cover their worker’s contraceptives. 

If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s one of more than 30 similar lawsuits currently making their way through the nation’s courts.

But this one could be the case that makes it to the Supreme Court.

Here’s why.

A sympathetic story?

John Kennedy is the CEO of Autocam Corp, a manufacturing company based outside Grand Rapids.

He’s also a Roman Catholic.

Candice Miller's official website

All nine of Michigan’s Republican members of Congress voted for House legislation that would defund the Affordable Care Act

The bill is a part of a recent political ultimatum coming from Republican lawmakers: either cut Obamacare or shut down the government.

The language was attached to a continuing resolution — a temporary measure that allows the government to maintain the current levels of funding to federal agencies while Congress works out a fully-fledged budget plan.

user striatic / Flickr

If you’re a Michigander looking for health insurance this fall, relax — help is on the way. Well, at least some help.

Earlier this August, Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody reported four groups were picked by the federal government to navigate Michigan’s uninsured — or underinsured — through the new health insurance market developed under the Affordable Care Act.

On October 1 — the day the new marketplace opens up — the aptly named “navigators” will guide Michigan residents through their choices under Obamacare.

“Navigators are entities that are working on behalf of the exchange at no cost to consumers,” said Don Hazaert, the executive director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare. MCH is one of the organizations selected to navigate Michiganders, along with Community Bridges Management, the Arab Community Center for Economic & Social Services, and American Indian Health and Family Services of Southeastern Michigan.

It's officially the law of the land.

Governor Rick Snyder signed the Medicaid expansion into law today.

The expansion will provide Medicaid services to hundreds of thousands of working-poor in the state through the federal Affordable Care Act. On today's show, what the expansion means for Michigan and what's next on the Governor's and the Legislature's agenda.

And, Brandon and Bethany Foote, the couple behind the musical group Gifts or Creatures, joined us today to talk about their music.

Also, Rivertown, a $55 million proposed development along the east riverfront in Detroit, recently won approval from the Detroit Economic Development Corporation. How are developments like this possible when Detroit is bankrupt?

First on the show, in Michigan, by state law, the day after Labor Day is Back-To-School Day.

But in some 30 districts and charter schools in Michigan, kids have already been going to school because these districts and schools are experimenting with year-round school.

It's a concept getting much attention with the realization that our traditional school schedule causes most kids to forget some of the reading and math skills over the long summer break. That forces teachers to spend the first month or more re-teaching the previous year's material.

What does year-round school look like and is there a demand for it?

For the answer, we turned to the Crosswell-Lexington Community Schools in rural Sanilac County, which is offering the option of a year-round schedule.

Superintendent Kevin Miller joined us today.

Gov. Snyder / Facebook

After months of political wrangling and debate, Governor Snyder has signed the Medicaid expansion into law. The expansion will provide Medicaid services to hundreds of thousands of working-poor in Michigan through the federal Affordable Care Act.

Chris Gautz, Capitol Correspondent for Crain's Detroit Business, and Chad Livengood, Lansing reporter for the Detroit News joined us today to talk about what we can now expect. 

Listen to the full interview above.

It's called many things -- the

ACA, the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. As implementation of the law continues, so does the confusion. On today's show, we sat down and tried to make sense of it all. What will the law mean for Michigan and for you?

And, we spoke with the Detroit Bureau correspondent for the new TV network Al Jazeera America.

And, author Jim Tobin and illustrator Dave Coverly joined us to talk about their new children’s book.

And, public transportation can be confusing, especially for children. The Youth Transit Alliance in Detroit is looking to improve this. 

Also, Moo Cluck Moo, a fast food restaurant in Dearborn Heights, has stepped up and raised their starting wage to $12 an hour. The founder spoke with us about why he thinks fast food workers deserve to be paid more than minimum wage.

First on the show, President Obama is conditionally endorsing a Russian offer for international inspectors to seize and destroy chemical weapons in Syria. It's an effort to avert U.S. missile strikes.

President Obama addressed the nation last night amidst the continued erosion of support in Congress for military strikes. The President's speech drew mixed reactions from Michigan's Congressional delegation.

Todd Spangler, D.C. based reporter for the Detroit Free Press, joined us today from Washington.

chrt.org

We've been flooded with news coverage of the Medicaid expansion in Michigan, the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare"), and the soon-to-be unveiled health care exchanges.

But it's all confusing and challenging, even to those who work in the field of healthcare coverage.

We wanted to see if we could get a firmer grasp on what all of this means in real world terms. Who's in, who's not? What does it mean for you, the consumer?

Marianne Udow-Phillips is the director of the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation. It's a non-profit partnership between the University of Michigan and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan. She joined us today from Ann Arbor.

Listen to the full interview above.

Andrian Clark / Flickr

Back in June, we wrote about some changes Michiganders will see in healthcare starting this fall. That's when people who currently do not have health insurance will be able to shop for a plan online.   

But a lot can change in three months — and that’s especially true when it comes to implementing the Affordable Care Act.

Here’s an updated rundown of what’s going on with healthcare in the Great Lake State.

Michigan businesses are trying to get ready for changes to the health care system by the Affordable Care Act.

But there's a lot of confusion, especially for small businesses.

Jennifer Kluge with the Michigan Business and Professional Association says the new health care system will increase costs for small businesses.

"For small businesses, there's nothing affordable about health care reform," she said.

But Brett Williams with Michigan Consumers for Healthcare says it's too early to tell, but rates could decrease over time.

You know by now that the Michigan Senate has finally voted to approve expanding Medicaid benefits.

The vote, which came Tuesday night after months of struggle, means that eventually nearly half a million of our citizens will have at least basic health care, people who don’t have it now.

The cost to the state itself will be nothing for three years, and only a pittance afterwards. The benefits in terms of human decency and a healthier workforce, enormous.

Those who opposed Medicaid expansion said they didn’t think we should burden future generations with another “entitlement cost.” Many of them also admitted their opposition was based on their hatred of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which they continue to oppose even though it was passed by Congress, passed Constitutional muster with the Supreme Court, and essentially ratified by the voters in last year‘s presidential election.

I just learned something important I thought I should share with you. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare,” is unconstitutional after all.

Yes, I know that the United States Supreme Court, in a majority opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, said it was constitutional, and that they have the ultimate legal authority to decide that.   But Joan Fabiano says they are wrong, and some media outlets think her views are worth repeating.

Fabiano, who is often described as a “prominent Tea Party activist,” isn‘t exactly a lawyer.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

Affordable Care Act provides healthcare counselors

Low income Michigan residents will soon have help navigating their new insurance options.  According to Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody, four groups in the state, including Michigan Consumers for Healthcare, are training employees to counsel individuals on their Obamacare choices.  The Affordable Care Act goes into effect on January 1st but people will have two months to enroll.

Detroit's bankruptcy is costly

Though Detroit's creditors may never be paid back, the city's lawyers and consultants stand to make a lot of money.  The Detroit Free Press has reported that the legal fees could reach $100 million.  But Michigan Radio's Lester Graham reports that the total could eventually double that or even more.

Ford C-Max not as efficient as advertised

The Ford Motor Company has had to adjust its reported gas mileage for the C-Max after it previously overstated the figure.  Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports that Ford advertised a 47 mpg for the C-Max. Consumer Reports magazine tested the vehicle and reported an average 37 mpg.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Four groups have been tapped by the federal government to help low income Michiganders navigate their way through the new federally mandated health insurance market.

The new health insurance marketplace is set to open on October 1st. About a million Michiganders without insurance will have to pick among a dozen or so health plans.

To help them, the federal government has picked four groups to serve as “navigators”.

photo by Anna Strumillo Phuket - Thailand / www.fotopedia.com

Only five states will spend less per capita than Michigan to spread the word about the federal health care law, the Associated Press reported.

From the AP:

“Michigan's $5.7 million in outreach spending amounts to 58 cents per resident. That's far less than states that are embracing the Affordable Care Act.”

Across the country, states and the U.S. government are pumping out advertising campaigns to get people familiar with changes under the Affordable Care Act. Billions of dollars from state and federal coffers alike are expected to be spent on getting the word out on new requirements, as well as the health insurance exchanges opening on October 1.

But according to the AP, Michigan has declined money the majority of federal funding for the promos:

Michigan is a net giver when it comes to dollars leaving the state in federal taxes. According to the Economist, from 1990 to 2009, $1.23 trillion went out of the state in federal taxes, while $1.03 trillion in federal spending came into the state during that time frame.

user cedarbenddrive / Flickr

Governor Rick Snyder’s administration is working to wrap up a deal with the Legislature this week to extend Medicaid coverage to thousands more low-income families in Michigan. Republicans remain divided on the proposal.

It took a bipartisan vote of Republicans and Democrats to get the expansion through the state House last week and it will take a similar coalition to get the bill approved this week by the state Senate.

The Michigan House of Representatives.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are moving forward with a plan to expand Medicaid in Michigan after months of debate. A state House panel approved the measure yesterday, and the full House is expected to vote on it today.

Republicans on the committee were split on the legislation. Many said they were not willing to support legislation that would further entrench the federal Affordable Care Act in Michigan. 

The federal government says it’ll foot the entire bill for Medicaid expansion through 2016, and at least 90 percent after that.

Up to half a million Michigan residents could lose their health insurance if the legislature fails to expand Medicaid.

Low-income Michiganders covered by local health plans could lose their coverage in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act. The law was written with the assumption states would accept federal funds to expand Medicaid.

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