Affordable Care Act | St. Louis Public Radio

Affordable Care Act

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 26, 2012 - The federal health-insurance law, dubbed by both sides as "Obamacare," already has become the top issue in Missouri’s U.S. Senate contest – a fact that only heightens the impact of this week’s hearings in Washington before the U.S. Supreme Court.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 23, 2012 - Chief Justice John G. Roberts and the U.S. Supreme Court arrive at a constitutional crossroads when they take up the Affordable Care Act Monday. They can turn their backs on the past 80 years of history by sharply reducing two of the Constitution's prime sources of national power. Or they can allow the nation to proceed along the road charted by the New Deal and the Great Society.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

As the second anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act approaches, a top surrogate of President Obama says the law will survive political and constitutional challenges to have a third anniversary.

The US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, was in St. Louis on Monday, part of a coordinated effort by President Obama and his surrogates to answer criticisms of the law.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 19, 2012 - The U.S. Supreme Court will uphold the controversial Affordable Care Act, predicted Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday. She went on to promise that the federal government would set up an insurance exchange in Missouri if state lawmakers refuse to create one.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 13, 2012 - Missouri will take no immediate steps to establish an insurance exchange in spite of the federal offer to give states more flexibility in setting up this key part of the health-reform law, a key state senator said Monday.

Sen. Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville, made the comment in response to the federal government's announcement on insurance exchange rules. Rupp chaired the special committee that held hearings across the state last year to get public reaction to setting up an exchange in Missouri. He also chairs the Small Business, Industry and Insurance Committee, which has jurisdiction over any exchange legislation introduced in the Senate.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 5, 2012 - On the last of three days of arguments on the Affordable Care Act later this month, the U.S. Supreme Court will turn to the sleeper issue that could have the biggest impact on federal power -- Congress' authority under its spending power to require a big expansion of state Medicaid programs.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 28, 2012 - If President Barack Obama ever needs a little background music the next time he belts out an Al Green tune, he probably could count on Jay Angoff, an accomplished keyboarder, who also happens to head the Health and Human Services's office in Kansas City. The president knows Angoff, having tapped him for the difficult job two years ago of implementing the Affordable Care Act.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 14, 2012 - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has just announced that he has submitted two "amicus briefs" in the cases now before the U.S. Supreme Court that challenge the constitutionality of the federal health-insurance law, most notably the mandate that most Americans buy insurance.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacin, Dec. 8, 2011 - The federal government's decision to open access to Medicare data so groups can compare practice patterns of doctors and hospitals is the latest indication that certain major health reforms will move forward no matter how the Supreme Court rules on the Affordable Care Act.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 15, 2011 - The debate about the power of the federal government is as old as the nation.

It began with the Articles of Confederation and its weak central government. It continued with arguments between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson and a bitter fight over the creation of the Bank of the United States. It boiled over in the war against slavery and, later, the states' rights to deny equality to African-Americans. It again divided the country over the New Deal's power to take strong national action to end the Great Depression.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 9, 2011 - The anti-abortion provision included in the health-care bill that passed the U.S. House on Saturday is similar to the private insurance restriction that has been in place in Missouri for 26 years.

Still, some leaders on both sides of the state's longstanding battle over abortion rights foresee possible changes if the federal provision becomes law.

Health care, broccoli and the free market

Oct 27, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 27, 2011 - At a debate on the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, a lawyer challenging the law said it was a "blueprint for Congress replacing a free market economy with a command-control economy." Congress could even force people to buy broccoli if it can force them to buy health care, he said.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 19, 2011 - The U.S. health-care system has improved, but it continues to fall short in reducing avoidable deaths, curbing health-insurance waste and cutting preventable hospital admissions, according to a "scorecard" issued Tuesday by the Commonwealth Fund at a conference in Washington, D.C.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 19, 2011 - The federal health-insurance changes slated to go into effect over the next two years aren't part of the Missouri General Assembly's special session now underway.

But one wouldn't know it from the fury coming from several Republican legislators and senators, who accused Gov. Jay Nixon late last week of trying to skirt legislative approval as his administration prepares for the state-run (or federally run) health-insurance exchange that's supposed to be approved by the federal government by 2013, and in place a year later.

Missouri Foundation for Health names new top executive

Aug 25, 2011
(Courtesy the Missouri Foundation for Health)

The Missouri Foundation for Health has named a new president and CEO.

Robert Hughes will assume his new post on Nov. 1, taking over from founding president James Kimmey who is retiring at the end of this year.

Hughes is an Illinois native but has spent the past 20 years in New Jersey. There, he worked for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the largest health philanthropy in the U.S.

(via Flickr/Jennifer Boriss)

Missouri has received a federal grant of close to $21 million to help build an online health insurance exchange.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug 2, 2011 - Bernadette Gronborg of Festus bemoans the fact that she is cannot get detailed explanations about increases in her health insurance. Aged 64 and retired, she's a year short of qualifying for Medicare. In the meantime, she says, she pays $300 a month for a high deductible policy "that hardly covers anything, but it's something."

Like a growing number of Missourians, she's pleading with state lawmakers to force insurers to bring more transparency to rate making.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 1, 2011 - New health-insurance plans will be required to offer women several preventive services, including contraception and contraceptive counseling, at no additional charge, federal health officials said this morning.

The regulation takes effect Aug. 1, 2012, and it mirrors the Institute of Medicine's recommendations made on July 19. The institute recommended that new health insurance plans cover several services for women, without requiring a co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 30, 2011 - The most interesting thing about Wednesday's federal appeals court decision upholding the individual mandate in the federal health-care law was that one of the judges in the majority was a leading and influential conservative, Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton.

Shortly after the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati announced its 2-1 decision on Wednesday, the blogs and listservs frequented by constitutional law professors were abuzz about Sutton voting to uphold the mandate.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 27, 2011 - Moderate-income Missourians are among the biggest losers in the nationwide decline of employer-sponsored health coverage.

The portion of Missourians with health insurance through employer-sponsored plans dipped nearly 12 percent between 1999 and 2009, according to a report by the University of Minnesota and released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 23, 2011 - Hundreds of people across Missouri have been taking part in rallies and seminars this week to mark the first anniversary of the controversial Affordable Care Act. Under the legislation, federal health officials say, Missouri has been awarded more than $47 million for programs ranging from expanding health center services, to closing the donut hole for seniors, to cracking down on "unreasonable" increases in insurance premiums.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 22, 2011 - The three top Republicans in Jefferson City -- Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, House Speaker Steve Tilley and Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer -- are once again pressuring Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat, to take action regarding the federal health insurance changes that are gradually going into effect.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 18, 2011 - WASHINGTON - Making her contribution to the U.S. House's attack on last year's health-care overhaul, U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, successfully added an amendment Friday to bar the Internal Revenue Service from taking initial steps to implement the "individual mandate" requiring everyone to have health insurance.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 11, 2011 - As she wielded a giant pair of scissors this morning at the grand opening of a new furniture store in Manchester, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., couldn't help quipping, "What I could do with a pair of these!"

McCaskill emphasized her federal budget-cutting side as she joined regional and local officials at a celebration marking the new Weekends Only store in what had been the vacant big-box space formerly housing a Home Depot Expo home-improvement store. The site happens to be in predominantly Republican territory in west St. Louis County.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 9, 2011 - WASHINGTON - Last week, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said she and a few other senators were looking at whether it might be possible to alter the health-care overhaul's individual insurance mandate in a way that would preserve the program and allow it to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 7, 2011 - Several top Missouri Republicans, including Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and state House Speaker Steve Tilley, plan to announce an alternative approach this week for exempting Missouri from the federal health-care changes.

State Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, announced Monday that he "will file legislation calling for Missouri to join an interstate compact designed to return the responsibility and authority for regulating health care to the states."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 3, 2011 - WASHINGTON - With federal courts divided and the Senate moving towards a vote Wednesday on repealing last year's health care overhaul -- a vote that later failed -- a panel chaired by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., weighed arguments about whether a key part of the law is unconstitutional.

This article first appear in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 31, 2011 - Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, one of the state's most outspoken opponents of the federal health care changes, said this afternoon that he's encouraged by the latest judicial ruling -- this one out of Florida -- asserting that the federal law is unconstitutional.

"This is an expected ruling,'' Kinder acknowledged in a telephone interview this afternoon, as he discussed the Florida ruling, which involves a suit brought by 26 states challenging the federal law.

Sunday talk shows address health care, debt ceiling

Jan 23, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 23, 2011 - WASHINGTON - Refusing to raise the nation's debt ceiling -- as some tea-party Republicans are advocating -- would lead to a "doomsday scenario" that could destroy the nation's credit and have "a devastating impact" on the economy, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., warned on Sunday.

Durbin, the Senate's second-ranking Democrat, also said he was confident that Democrats could muster enough votes to block the effort by Senate Republicans -- promised by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. -- to follow the House lead and repeal last year's health-care overhaul.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 20, 2011 - WASHINGTON - Now that U.S. House Republicans have made a statement by voting Wednesday to repeal last year's health-care overhaul -- a repeal that seems headed toward a brick wall in the Democratic-majority Senate -- the real debate begins about which, if any, changes might realistically be made in the system.