Affordable Care Act | St. Louis Public Radio

Affordable Care Act

Hollee Brooks
Robert Joiner/St. Louis Public Radio and The Beacon

Following years of dead-end jobs in the fast-food industry, Hollee Brooks decided to trade her restaurant uniform for scrubs, and train to become a medical technician. If she makes it through nine months of training and gets state certification and some experience, she'll earn considerably higher wages and enjoy employment benefits that usually elude those who flip hamburgers for a living. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 9, 2013 - Too frequently those who examine public policy dwell on the creation of a law and then on results, usually quantifiable. How the law is implemented is overlooked. Yet, implementation may be key to policy success or failure.

This commentary first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When I was a kid, Halloween was the day we gave thanks for attending Catholic school. Because the day after is All Saint’s Day in church liturgy, we were off for a holy day of obligation while our public-school counterparts attended classes as usual after a night of trick or treating. (Suckers.)

Commentary: Hard lessons from the ACA roll-out

Nov 25, 2013

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - As a professor of public policy I am always on the lookout for events that I can use as Teachable Moments in the classroom. The rollout of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, certainly qualifies as a case study of what not to do when implementing a new public policy.

Missouri To Let Insurers Renew Canceled Health Policies

Nov 21, 2013
(Via Flickr/Rosemary)

Missouri will allow health insurance companies to continue offering policies that otherwise would have been canceled under the terms of the new federal health care law.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday that the state will let insurers sell individual and small-group policies in 2014 that were to be canceled because they didn't meet federal coverage requirements taking effect next year. 

This article originally appeared the St. Louis Beacon. - The rocky rollout of the Affordable Care Act's insurance marketplace apparently hasn’t changed the level of consumer support for the health-reform program. For weeks, administration officials and policy analysts have been concerned that many people were confused about the law and might be turned off because of difficulties buying insurance through the insurance exchange.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Missouri Republicans in Washington and Jefferson City are standing firm in their opposition to the Affordable Care Act. They are citing the low number of Missourians who have signed up for insurance on the federal exchange as just another reason why their stance hasn’t changed -- and won't.

President Obama Speaks On The Affordable Care Act

Nov 14, 2013
via White House video stream

This event has concluded, thank you for joining us.

President Obama is addressed the nation this morning regarding the Affordable Care Act. Thanks for joining us live on-air at 90.7 FM and streaming online.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - The latest wrinkle in the Affordable Care Act centers on whether consumers should be allowed to keep health insurance plans that may offer less coverage than the minimum benefits envisioned in the health-care law.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Individual insurance policy holders in Missouri may be allowed to keep their policies in 2014, even if they don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has announced that his administration’s Department of Insurance is notifying health insurers that they will be allowed to extend such policies, if they desire.

McCaskill Says Insurance Cancellations Under Obamacare 'Inexcusable, Embarrassing'

Nov 13, 2013
(WikepediaCommons)

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill said today that President Obama should’ve apologized to the millions of Americans whose health insurance was canceled because it failed to meet Affordable Care Act requirements.

“These problems are inexcusable, and it’s embarrassing,” McCaskill said. 

McCaskill’s comments follow remarks made yesterday by former President Bill Clinton, who said President Obama should find a way to let people keep their health coverage, even if it means changing the new insurance law. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - After months of lying low on the topic of Medicaid expansion, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon appears to be resurrecting the issue with Tuesday's invitation to General Assembly leaders to join him “for a discussion about reforming our state’s health-care system to provide better outcomes for patients and better returns for taxpayers.”

(Via Flickr/Rosemary)

The St. Louis-based safety-net healthcare provider ConnectCare will close its remaining facilities at the end of next week.

The Smiley Urgent Care Center, along with ConnectCare’s radiology, pharmacy, laboratory and preventative services will all close on Nov. 15.

The nonprofit organization, which served patients regardless of their ability to pay, had already discontinued outpatient specialty care and transportation services last month.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Senator Blunt | Flickr

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt says the federal government's difficulty launching Healthcare.gov this fall is not really what's wrong with the Affordable Care Act.

President Obama's administration has struggled to address a myriad of problems with the site since launching Oct. 1, including users being unable to create accounts and load web pages.

Blunt cautions residents not to consider the website as a measure of whether or not the President's signature health care plan is working.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Joyce Simms has been a St. Louis ConnectCare patient in the pulmonology program for four years.  Because she has asthma, she sees her pulmonologist, Dr. Barbara Lutey, as often as every three months.

In August, Simms received a registered letter from ConnectCare telling her that the pulmonology clinic was closing. But Simms did not experience even a hiccup in service. She learned that she would be able to continue to see Lutey, but her appointments would be at the Center for Outpatient Health, a facility run by Barnes-Jewish Hospital on Forest Park Avenue.

Brent Jones | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: By Missouri’s refusal to expand its Medicaid program, more than 193,000 adults in the state will find themselves stuck in a coverage gap, come Jan. 1.

These are uninsured adults  who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but too little to be eligible for the government subsidies that discount the price of private health insurance.

Updated on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. with details from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services blog post. 

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) says Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius should testify before a House committee on technical glitches surrounding Healthcare.Gov.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to Sebelius asking her to testify this week. She has yet to publicly respond to the request.    

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When Alexis Young, a graduate student and part-time health researcher, began looking at her own insurance exchange options, she didn’t experience nearly as much sticker shock as she had expected.

With an income of less than $14,000 a year, she had braced herself for what she’d have to shell out for premiums. The sticker price in her case turned out to be about $2,400 a year for each of two plans reviewed by the Beacon. Of that premium amount, she’d have to pay $280 a year or less out of pocket because she’d be eligible for hefty tax credits to cover the rest.

Remko van Dokkum | Flickr

Tony Arnold contributed reporting from Chicago.

Some Illinois residents trying to sign up for health insurance through the new exchange program yesterday ran  into technical glitches.

Consumers reported waits of 20 minutes or more on the hotline, or errors while trying to access the website.

Gov. Pat Quinn called the glitches an expected part of rolling out a new program this large.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Business is good at the Pilates and Yoga Center in Ladue. But an issue that continues to interrupt the peace of owner Karen Prechtl is affordable health insurance for herself and her 10 employees.

"It’s insane," she says of her skyrocketing premiums. But she takes comfort in the possibility that, starting Tuesday, relief might come when a new insurance marketplace opens in Missouri and nationwide, promising affordable health insurance for individuals, families and some small businesses. It is expected to open with plenty of promise — and glitches as well.

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