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affordable care act

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Democratic Senator Carl Levin says House Republican leaders bowing to the Tea Party is the reason for the federal government shutdown.

Levin accuses the Tea Party of doing what the 9/11 terrorists could not: shut down the federal government.

“We weren’t shutdown on 9/11.   We kept going.   There was a physical attack on us,” Levin told reporters on a conference call today,  “Now you got people who are doing an economic attack on us, saying they will not allow this government to function unless they get their way on a particular issue.”

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.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

On Tuesday, tens of thousands of Michiganders can start signing up for new health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

But some may find they fall victim to what’s being called the ‘Family Glitch’.

The Affordable Care Act provides subsidies for families to get health insurance if an employer doesn’t provide adequate health insurance coverage.

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.

Diliff/wikipedia

A federal government shutdown could have a big effect in Michigan, especially for many of the state’s most vulnerable.

Many programs run by Michigan’s state government are paid for with money from the federal government.

If the White House and Congressional Republicans can’t reach a budget deal by the end of this month, the flow of federal money to Michigan will slow to a trickle.

“There are hundreds of millions of dollars that flow into the state on a monthly basis,” says John Nixon, Michigan’s state budget director.

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.

The deadline for the Affordable Care Act's open enrollment period is January 31.
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.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The effort to train people to help Michiganders navigate the new federal health insurance law is gearing up.

Starting October 1st, Michiganders will be able to use an online marketplace to choose a health care plan under the Affordable Care Act. How many plans there will be and what the plans will offer is still unclear.

But several groups are preparing to help with the process.

Don Hazaert is the executive director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare. The group received a grant to help implement Obamacare in Michigan.

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.

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.

getoverit.org

Michiganders will begin signing up for health care coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act in one month.

But state officials are warning that scammers are already at work using Obamacare to defraud people.

Caleb Buhs is with the Department Insurance and Financial Services.   He says his department is already hearing about scammers trying to convince people they need ‘new Obamacare or Medicare’ cards.

The scammers try to get social security numbers and bank account information.

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”.

The deadline for the Affordable Care Act's open enrollment period is January 31.
user striatic / Flickr

Few things have been more politicized than the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

There’s a lot of misinformation and disinformation about the insurance program. We’re going to try to put politics aside and find out just what’s happening now and what will happen as it continues to be phased in.

Helen Levy is a professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, the Institute for Social Research, and the Ford School of Public Policy. Thomas Buchmueller is a health economist and professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

They joined us today to talk about the insurance program.

“The goal is to reach as many as we can of the approximately 50 million people who have no health insurance. And so the way we’re trying to do that is by expanding access to individual health insurance coverage for people who could by their own coverage but don’t have an employer policy,” said Levy. “And we are also trying to target the uninsured and give them coverage by expanding the Medicaid program in some states.”

It is currently unknown as to whether or not Michigan will be one of those states.

Still not sure what the Affordable Care Act means or what it does or doesn’t do? You’re not alone. Politics aside, we took a closer look at Obamacare and what it all means for you.

And, the unseasonable cool weather in Michigan is probably good for you, but not so good for the crops. Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa joined us today to talk about what is causing it.

And, a Detroit native joined us today to tell us how he sees the city's bankruptcy as a new opportunity.

Also, the fourth annual Upper Peninsula book tour is about to begin. We spoke with a couple Michigan authors who will be participating.

First on the show, by now you’ve heard a bit about Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing. About half of Detroit’s nearly $20 billion in debt is due to shortfalls in the funds for retiree benefits. According to emergency manager Kevyn Orr’s estimates, the pension funds are behind by about $3.5 billion. Unfunded health care obligations are pegged at about $5.7 billion.

Detroit is not unique in its unfunded pension and retiree health care obligations. Other municipalities in the state are also behind.

Anthony Minghine is the chief operating officer of Michigan municipal league.  He joined us today.

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.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan business owners say they still need answers to how the Affordable Care Act will affect their businesses.

About 200 people attended a seminar on "Obamacare" today in East Lansing.

The federal health care law takes effect January 1st.  Businesses with more than 50 employees will have to provide health care insurance to their employees or pay a penalty.

Ed Harden is the VP of Sales for McLaren Health Plan. He says business owners have just one question for him, “How much is this going to cost?”

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.

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

For a lot of uninsured families in Michigan, this is a big week.

Lawmakers in Lansing are sloooowly moving ahead with expanding the state’s Medicaid program.

That would give another 470,000 Michiganders coverage.

So who exactly are we talking about here?

The morning I meet Jen and Todd Nagle, we have no clue the day will end with Todd being rushed to the doctor for chest pains.

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

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.

Half a century ago, there was a movement very much like today's Tea Party. They believed our nation was being destroyed by a conspiracy to make this a socialist country.

They didn't like taxes and hated Medicare as much as today's Tea Party hates what they call "Obamacare."

That movement captured the Republican Party in 1964, and nominated their hero, Senator Barry Goldwater, for president.

He accepted the nomination in a speech which would make today's Tea Party activists swoon. "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice," he proclaimed, as his supporters jeered and hooted at the mainstream Republicans they despised.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan's largest nurses union is in Lansing today lobbying for Medicaid expansion.

The issue has been locked in a political debate at the state capitol for months.

John Karebian is the executive director of the Michigan Nurses Association.    He says Medicaid expansion is being “held hostage” by Republicans still angry over the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

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