Affordable Care Act | St. Louis Public Radio

Affordable Care Act

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.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: David Axelrod, the top adviser to President Barack Obama during his two successful bids for White House, is confident that decades from now, historians will view Obama as more than just the first African-American president.

But even if he is wrong, Axelrod said there’s no doubt that Obama’s stature as a ground-breaking political figure is significant.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

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

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: About 525,000 Missouri residents will be eligible for premium tax credits to help them buy affordable health insurance, starting this fall, according to a study by Families USA. The number offers one answer to what happens if Missouri refuses to expand Medicaid. Some of those left without health coverage could conceivably get help under the exchange program.

Estimates in Families USA’s study are limited to individuals earning between 138 percent and 400 percent of poverty. But insurance exchange benefits can extend to individuals earning down to 100 percent of poverty.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri hospitals are expected to avoid about $27 million in cuts in federal reimbursements.

The Obama administration's next budget eliminates about $500 million nationally in what’s known as disproportionate share payments, or DSH, to hospitals under Medicaid. These payments are made to certain urban and rural hospitals that treat large percentages of poor patients lacking health insurance. Ozark Medical Center in West Plains, Mo., was among rural hospitals concerned about the cuts. It was set to lose more than $600,000 in DSH payments, starting in the next federal fiscal year, beginning on Oct. 1.

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: William Shortall is among 50,000 Missourians who are in a bind because they don't have sufficient insurance to cover treatment for their mental health problems.

“Approximately five years ago, I was diagnosed with a mental illness, bipolar disorder,” he said. Shortal's plight isn’t unusual, pointing to federal data showing that about one in four Americans is coping with some form of mental illness. Most don’t get timely help, he says, because they lack health insurance.

(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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When Gov. Jay Nixon decided to visit the Metropolitan St. Louis Psychiatric Center to make a case for expanding Medicaid, few people in the audience were more pleased than Dr. Roy Wilson, the center’s medical director. He says the visit helped to shed more light on the fact that facilities like his often lack the money for services to head off the adverse consequences of being mentally ill and uninsured.

(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.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Federal government will not fund reservoir repairs

The federal government has rejected a request from Ameren Missouri to receive stimulus funds for rebuilding the Taum Sauk reservoir that ruptured in 2005.

UPDATED on Friday, July 6, 2012, to add a correction from Anthem's Deborah Wiethop.

Some 588,000 Missourians will get money back from their health insurance companies this month.

The federal healthcare law requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on health care and quality improvement. The rest can go to administrative costs, marketing and profits.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Nixon defends, clarifies comments on health insurance mandate

Elana Gordon contributed reporting from Kansas City, Mo.

With a decision on the federal health law nearing, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon further defended his position yesterday regarding a federal health insurance mandate. 

With the United States Supreme Court's decision on healthcare expected to come on Thursday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon broke with his party on Monday over a key part of the legislation.

Speaking with reporters in St. Louis, Governor Nixon sounded more like a Republican when asked about the impending decision.

Referring to the Affordable Care Act as the “Washington Healthcare Law” Nixon spoke out against the key ingredient of President Obama’s signature legislation—the so-called individual mandate requiring people to purchase health insurance.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Mo. Supreme Court to decide fate of November ballot initiatives

The Missouri Supreme Court will hear arguments this morning to determine the fate of several ballot initiatives.

Election officials still have yet to determine if supporters of increasing the minimum wage and tobacco tax, and capping the rate of payday loans, have gathered enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

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