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All this week on Stateside, we look at how the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will affect Michigan residents, hospitals and governments.

According to the Health and Human Services Department, some 20 million Americans have gained health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. President-elect Donald Trump has made repealing and replacing Obamacare a top campaign pledge, and in recent days, Congress has taken steps to quickly repeal much of the ACA once he takes office.

What would such a repeal mean for families who rely on the law for their coverage?

Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Thousands showed up at a rally in Warren on Sunday where Democratic Presidential Candidate and Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, along with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, all joined together vowing to fight Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

It was one of dozens of rallies held across the country in support of Obamacare.

Michigan Senator Gary Peters joined Stateside to discuss the rally and what he’s hearing from Michigan voters and lawmakers with regard to the ACA and Republican repeal efforts.

The Davert family.
Taylor'd Photography/Courtesy of Melissa Davert


All this week on Stateside, we look at how the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will affect Michigan residents, hospitals and governments.

The future of the Affordable Care Act is in doubt. President-elect Donald Trump wants to scrap it and replace it, and the Republican majority in Congress is on board with that idea.

According to government figures, nationwide, since the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion began, about 20 million uninsured people have gained health insurance coverage. Census data show that the uninsured rate in Michigan in 2015 was cut in half. It’s now at 6.1%, down from 12.4% uninsured in 2010.

But, there are problems. Some families are worse off.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

One Democratic Michigan congressman says he’s willing to keep an “open-mind” about Republican plans to replace Obamacare.

Large crowds gathered across the nation on Sunday, including in Warren, to oppose the push to repeal the Affordable Care Act.   

Flint Congressman Dan Kildee is concerned a quick repeal of the Affordable Care Act will leave 20 million people, including hundreds of thousands in Michigan, without health insurance.

Kildee wants to see how Republicans will keep some popular provisions of the health care law in place.

Michiganders rally at Macomb Community College in Warren to save the Affordable Care Act.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Thousands of Michigan residents showed up to a healthcare rally to show Republican leaders they don’t want the Affordable Care Act to be repealed.

Senator Bernie Sanders, along Democrats with Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow enthused the crowd at Macomb Community College in Warren about fighting to keep their health coverage.

While the Republicans in Washington D.C. have already begun plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Democratic leaders say without a replacement plan, about 30 million Americans would lose their health coverage.

user clarita / morguefile

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.  

Emergency sign at hospital.
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

  DETROIT - Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has helped push enrollment for health coverage through the national Affordable Care Act before Monday's deadline.

  He attended a press conference Saturday to kick off a free enrollment assistance event running from noon to 5 p.m. at the Detroit Public Library on Woodward Avenue. U.S. Health and Human Services Region V Director Kathleen Falk also participated.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The next round of Obamacare sign-ups start next month.

Insurance companies have until November 5th to decide which of the plans they submitted, and were approved by state and federal regulators, to offer beginning November 15th.

Andrea Miller is with the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services. She says the department’s Health Insurance Consumer Assistance Program website can help consumers start planning for picking or renewing their insurance policy.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce is launching a private health insurance marketplace September 1st.

Jason Russell is the senior director of the chamber’s Department of Insurance Services.

He says the intent of the new marketplace is to help small businesses and insurance agents deal with an increasingly complex health insurance landscape under the Affordable Care Act.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal court ruling today could affect tens of thousands of Michiganders who got health insurance through Obamacare.

More than 237,000 of the 272,000 Michiganders who signed up for Obamacare selected a plan through the marketplace with federal financial assistance.  The tax credits helped subsidize health insurance payments for low- and moderate-income people.

user Laura4Smith / Flickr

In less than four months, Michigan has already hit its 2014 enrollment goal for the state’s expanded Medicaid program.

More than 322,000 low-income Michiganders now have government sponsored healthcare through the Healthy Michigan program.

Officials with the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) say the dramatic jump in enrollment will help boost the state’s economy.

“We’ve heard stories about people who are now addressing some really serious health problems that prevented them from working,” said Angela Minicuci, a spokesperson for MDCH.

mich.gov / Michigan Government

In Detroit, the number of women dying from pregnancy-related causes is three times the national average.

Data from the state Department of Community Health show a maternal death rate that is even higher than countries like Libya and Vietnam.

High poverty and limited access to health care are the main culprits. Women living in poverty are less likely to receive consistent medical care before and during pregnancy, which can lead to complications during childbirth.

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