KGOU

Affordable Care Act

Cheaper, stripped-down health plans could soon see a resurgence in Oklahoma, potentially reducing the number of uninsured while leaving policyholders with unexpected medical bills.

Taylor Lott, of the Latino Community Development Agency in Oklahoma City, worked as a navigator assisting people with enrollment in the federal health-insurance marketplace. She says many people still need help because of confusion over the process.
Mashuir Rahaman / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma bucked expectations as enrollment on the federal health-care marketplace climbed to a record level for the upcoming year.

About 82,000 children in Oklahoma lack health insurance, ranking the state 48th in the nation.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

After a decade of improvement, a new study suggests the rate of uninsured children is increasing in Oklahoma.

a stack of dollar bills with a stethoscope and bottle of pills
James Martin / Flickr

Oklahoma is preparing to unveil a $350 million plan designed to reduce health insurance premiums and avert a scenario where the state is left with no provider offering plans on the federally run marketplace.

But the effort comes with a catch:  The more than 1.7 million Oklahomans who receive health insurance outside of the marketplace, including from employers, would pay more – a per-person fee of up to $60 a year.

The fee is part of a federal waiver the state is seeking to begin a reinsurance program through the Affordable Care Act or the GOP’s proposed replacement plan.

Updated at 9:48 p.m. ET

The White House issued an ultimatum to House Republicans on Thursday: Vote for the current GOP health care replacement plan or leave the Affordable Care Act in place and suffer the political consequences.

With a vote rescheduled for Friday in the U.S. House, it's down to the wire for the American Health Care Act, the Republican-authored bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Storme Jones / KGOU

 

Oklahomans rallied at the State Capitol Saturday as part of a nationwide effort called March 4 Trump.

 

State Sen. Ervin Yen, R-Oklahoma City, spoke at the event and said Trump hasn’t had a chance to begin governing yet.

 

“Donald Trump is my president. Let’s give him a chance. Let’s stop bashing him,” Yen said. “The administration that he has put together, I think there are some really sharp people in there. Let’s see what happens”

 

President Barack Obama speaks at McCormick Place in Chicago giving his presidential farewell address on Tuesday.
Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

President Obama gave his farewell address in Chicago on Jan. 10, speaking for just under an hour. The NPR Politics team and reporters across the newsroom annotated the speech, adding fact-checks and background to Obama's comments in real time.

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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit NPR

Republican Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin (@RepMullin) joins Here & Now‘s Meghna Chakrabarti to discuss the Trump transition, the push to repeal Obamacare and the House GOP’s failed efforts this week to weaken the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Computer screen with heathcare.gov open.
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Seven weeks from now Donald Trump will become the 45th president of the United States. One of his signature campaign promises involved repealing or changing the hallmark legislative achievement of his predecessor – the Affordable Care Act.

Overhauling or undoing such a complex healthcare law nationwide won’t be a simple task, according to The Journal Record’s editor-in-chief Ted Streuli.

Dr. Wendy Pitt examines a patient at Variety Care Inasmuch Foundation Pediatric and Wellness Center at 500 SW 44th St. in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Oklahoma leads the nation in price increases on the federal health insurance exchange, according to a national analysis by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Prices for silver health plans on the federal exchange rose 42 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to The Journal Record’s Sarah Terry-Cobo:

Members of the Oklahoma State Board of Health hold a meeting at the Oklahoma State Department of Health at 1000 NE 10th St. in Oklahoma City Tuesday.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Half a decade after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010, states will be able to submit plans for their own version of the law starting next year.

Lawmakers have authorized state health officials to come up with their own plan for providing health insurance to the state’s population. It’s now on Gov. Mary Fallin’s desk, waiting for her signature, The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports:

The 22 states that didn't expand Medicaid eligibility as part of Obamacare last year saw their costs to provide health care to the poor rise twice as fast as states that extended benefits to more low-income residents.

It's a counterintuitive twist for those states whose governors, most Republicans who opposed the Affordable Care Act, chose not to accept federal funds to extend Medicaid to more people.

health insurance cards and dollar bills
Lindsey Whelchel / Oklahoma Watch

The Affordable Care Act health insurance market in Oklahoma faces big changes next year, with the dominant company moving 40,000 people into different plans and three other companies dropping out entirely.

On Jan. 1, Oklahoma will be left with only two companies offering individual health plans in the “Obamacare” market:  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma, the existing market leader, and UnitedHealthcare, a new entry.

As a member of the Navajo tribe, Rochelle Jake has received free care through the Indian Health Service her entire life. The IHS clinics took care of her asthma, allergies and eczema — chronic problems, nothing urgent.

Recently, though, she felt sharp pains in her side. Her doctor recommended an MRI and other tests she couldn't get through IHS. To pay for them, he urged her to sign up for private insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

health insurance cards and dollar bills
Lindsey Whelchel / Oklahoma Watch

Affordable Care Act health insurance rates are expected to rise in Oklahoma in 2016, and the state Insurance Department insists it cannot do anything about rates except review and approve the paperwork.

In the past, however, the department held a somewhat different view, according to a former high-ranking state insurance official.

health insurance cards and dollar bills
Lindsey Whelchel / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahomans who buy health insurance for next year from the largest insurer on the Affordable Care Act marketplace could face double-digit rate increases running as high as 44 percent, filings with the federal government show. 

Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals / Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals

A federal appeals court in Denver has ruled that the federal health care law doesn't infringe on the religious freedom of faith-based nonprofit organizations that object to covering birth control in employee health plans.

The case involves a group of Colorado nuns and four Christian colleges in Oklahoma.

Oklahomans who purchase health insurance policies next year from the leadinginsurer in the Affordable Care Act marketplace could face unsubsidized rate increases averaging 31 percent, Oklahoma Watch data research shows.

That’s how much Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma has asked the federal government to approve, on average, for all of its “Obamacare”-compliant individual health policies in 2016, according to an actuarial memo filed by the insurer.The proposal doesn’t apply to policies offered through employers.

health insurance cards and dollar bills
Lindsey Whelchel / Oklahoma Watch

Two private health insurance companies participating in the Affordable Care Act market in Oklahoma are expected to leave the program next year, while another big insurer wants in.

The shuffle, which would occur on Jan. 1, illustrates the rapid evolution of the “Obamacare” health insurance marketplace as it approaches its third year of operation. Some insurers are finding it difficult to make a profit on Affordable Care Act policies, while others see an opportunity that could pay off big over time.

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