Affordable Care Act

(Via Flickr/Rosemary)

The online marketplace for health insurance – one of the major provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act – goes live Tuesday, October 1. With the hours winding down until enrollment begins, we wanted to provide a platform for your questions to be answered.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The time for enrolling in health exchanges is now upon us. Recent polls show that the majority of Americans continue to disapprove of the health care law — the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare — enacted in 2010. But how many of us really understand what we can expect and what we will pay for this “affordable” health program? The simple fact is that most of us are just plain bewildered, not knowing how the controversial law will affect us.

Flickr Creative Commons Users/Compiled By Kelsey Proud, St. Louis Public Radio

Starting on October 1, Missourians will be able to shop for health insurance through a new online marketplace. It’s one of the biggest changes in health insurance coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act.

But there’s still a lot of confusion about how the exchanges will work.

St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra spoke with the Missouri Foundation for Health’s Ryan Barker to try to get some answers.

How will Missourians access the new health insurance options?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Gov. Jay Nixon says a voter-approved ballot initiative limits what his administration can do to promote the federal health insurance exchange.

But unlike Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, the Democratic chief executive says the advent of the exchanges is a positive development for individuals looking for health insurance.

(via Flickr/Jennifer Boriss)

State authorities and medical professionals are warning the public to beware of con artists seeking to take advantage of the opening of Missouri’s federally-run health care exchange next week.

Dave Dillon with the Missouri Hospital Association says scammers posing as government or health care workers may try to steal people’s identities or get their banking information while pretending to provide their victims with heath insurance.

Flickr/Tax Credits

A new report released on Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finds that average premiums in the new online health insurance marketplace opening Tuesday will be lower than expected in most states.

In Missouri, the average monthly insurance premium for a family of four making $50,000 a year will start at $72. That’s for the lowest level of coverage, after a tax credit.

But prices will vary depending on where in the state you live.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., announced Tuesday that he will vote for the House-passed continuing budget resolution that seeks to defund the Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – signaling a harder line, compared to his comments last week.

(WikepediaCommons)

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri is criticizing Republican Senator Ted Cruz's marathon speech on the Affordable Care Act, saying he did it to promote himself.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Lt. Governor Peter Kinder (R) blasted President Obama's (D) Affordable Care Act Monday, just over one week before Missouri's federally-run health insurance exchange is scheduled to open for business.

Kinder told reporters during a conference call that he hopes Missouri residents without health coverage will opt not to use the exchange.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Mayor Francis Slay
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | 2013 photo

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri could lose $8 billion in federal funding during the first six years of health reform if state lawmakers continue to refuse to expand Medicaid to insure more of the needy, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. She spoke during a stop in St. Louis for a meeting with St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, County Executive Charlie Dooley, health leaders and others working to help prepare consumers for the reform law’s insurance exchange marketplace, which opens for business on Oct. 1.

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in St. Louis on Thursday to talk about the Affordable Care Act.

Sebelius met with city and county officials and representatives of the local healthcare community in a closed-door session at St. Louis City Hall.

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Sebelius said as of October 1, Missourians will be able to purchase health insurance through a new online marketplace.

Sebelius said many of Missouri's 800,000 uninsured will be able to get coverage.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri consumers wanting to know who will sell them insurance and at what cost through the health reform law’s online marketplace system won’t have answers until Oct. 1, the day the program begins taking applications.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: It looked like a useful federal announcement, the kind that state education officials routinely pass on to local school districts and the public. The item was titled “Affordable Care Act – Back to School Materials.” It announced that the U.S. Department of Education was supporting efforts to inform the public about full implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A few years ago, Missouri had a surplus of funds for assisting visually impaired people in the state but had difficulty reaching these clients. The state sought the help of the Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging, based in Jefferson City.

State Rep. Paul Wieland could be starting a trend in Missouri with his suit that challenges the Missouri government’s new group insurance coverage that covers sterilization and contraceptives, including some birth-control drugs or devices that he says induce abortion.

Missouri State House of Representatives

 A lawsuit filed on behalf of a Missouri state representative is aimed at changing a mandate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that he says violates his religious rights.

Paul Wieland, a Republican House member from Imperial, says he and his wife are no longer able to opt out of coverage for “abortion-inducing drugs” under a group health care plan provided for legislators.

He says that option has been removed because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

(via Flickr/Jennifer Boriss)

Sign-up for major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, begins October 1st.

With less than three months before marketplace exchanges for health insurance go online, many questions remain about who is eligible, what the requirements are and what kind of penalties people and businesses may face if they or their employees continue to be uninsured come January 2014.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: An ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure, but finding money for prevention can be elusive when it comes to health care. Case in point is what is happening with the federal health reform law. Unprecedented spending to prevent illness and improve public health is one key promise of the Affordable Care Act.

Some health providers, administrators and volunteers got a glimpse Thursday at how they and others could help the working poor reap the benefits of medical care through an insurance exchange system that will open for business in the fall.

(Kristi Luther/St. Louis Public Radio)

Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri visited Mercy Hospital in St. Louis Monday to speak with healthcare workers about the implications of federal healthcare changes. He also received a tour of the hospital's Telehealth Services, often used to serve rural communities that don't have access to specialty or intensive care. 

Mercy SafeWatch is an electronic Intensive Care Unit(e-ICU) that serves Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Blunt learned how Mercy is able to provide an extra set of eyes and ears for doctors that can't always be there in person.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., says he remains a critic of the federal Affordable Care Act -- and remains convinced that the measure’s pending health insurance changes could eventually end up reducing the number of Americans with coverage.

Commentary: Nation should learn from mine workers

Jun 19, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The United Mine Workers of America were back in St. Louis Monday, rallying against Peabody Energy. The UMWA claims that Peabody created a spinoff company, Patriot Coal, that was designed to fail and saddled it with expenses including workers’ health insurance and pensions. When Patriot did in fact file for bankruptcy five years after its creation, 22,000 workers and retirees whose benefits had been reattributed to Patriot Coal lost those earned and negotiated benefits and joined the nearly 50 million Americans without health insurance.

flickr/Talk Radio News Service

David Axelrod, the former senior advisor to President Obama spoke at Webster University Friday, speaking on a variety of topics, including the Affordable Care Act.

Axelrod was a key advisor to the president during the passage of the Affordable Care Act.Axelrod used his time to take a swipe at states (like Missouri) doing their best to not implement parts of the law.

“There are still many snipers on rooftops trying to make it not work, in the form of Governors and Congressmen," Axelrod said. "But I think it’s important for the country that it succeeds.”

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

As St. Louis Public Radio has reported before, the region is a tough place for sexual health.

Bill Greenblatt / UPI

Gov. Pat Quinn says he is taking steps to ensure Illinois has the workforce it needs to fill thousands of new health care jobs.

Quinn says the jobs will be created as Illinois implements the Affordable Care Act, which will expand health care coverage to hundreds of thousands of people.

In a press release Saturday the governor says he's directed Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck to lead a Health Care Workforce Workgroup. The group will assess and plan for the jobs needed to serve a growing and increasingly aging and diverse population.

(Via Flickr/Rosemary)

A Republican-led Missouri Senate committee has defeated a plan to expand Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care law.

The Senate Appropriations Committee rejected the legislation on a party-line vote Wednesday, just minutes after hearing testimony from more than two dozen witnesses in favor of the plan.

A Republican-led House committee defeated a similar bill last month in the same fashion.

(Judy Schmidt, James Gathany / CDC)

On November 6, 2012, Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition E, which prohibited the Governor or any state agency from establishing or operating a state-based health insurance exchange without legislative or citizen approval.

The Affordable Care Act, however, moves on toward full implementation in 2014.

Host Don Marsh talked with Sidney Watson, Professor of Law at Saint Louis University’s Health Law Policy Center, and Ryan Barker, Director of Health Policy for the Missouri Foundation for Health.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder has lost another round in his battle against President Obama’s federal health care law.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the Republican Lt. Governor has no legal standing to file suit because the Affordable Care Act poses no immediate threat to Kinder’s legally protected interests.  He filed suit two years ago as an individual, not in his official capacity as Lt. Governor.  The three-judge panel’s ruling did not address the constitutionality of the federal health care law, most of which was upheld last year in a 5-4 ruling by the U-S Supreme Court.

Jennifer Boriss / Flickr

A panel of healthcare experts gathered at Washington Tabernacle today to field questions from members of the community on how the Affordable Care Act would impact their lives.

Topics ranged from small businesses to Medicaid expansion in Missouri, and a large part of the discussion focused on a ballot initiative regarding health insurance exchanges in Missouri.

(Go here for in-depth coverage on Medicaid expansion and the working poor.)

(via Flickr/hlkljgk)

A Cole County judge heard arguments Friday on whether to issue a temporary restraining order against Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D).

Carnahan and Republican leaders are sparring over the language used in a ballot initiative regarding health care exchanges.  Lt. Governor Peter Kinder and GOP lawmakers accuse Carnahan of using misleading language in order to influence voters to defeat the ballot question in November.  Attorney Jay Kanzler represents the plaintiffs.

“Secretary of State Carnahan's language talking about denying families and individuals access to affordable health care frankly doesn’t even come close to describing, in fact, what the ballot initiative would do,” Kanzler said.

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