Affordable Care Act

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

Stressing that there's only about five weeks until the deadline to enroll for health insurance coverage through the New York State of Health marketplace, the Democratic mayors of Albany, Schenectady and Troy joined community advocates this week at Citizen Action of New York's Albany storefront headquarters to encourage sign-ups.

Leon Brooks

Governor Andrew Cuomo says New York needs a Medicaid funding infusion first requested in 2012 to support hospital overhauls and expanded primary medical care to meet growing patient demand under the state's new health insurance exchange.

The exchange has enrolled more than 412,000 New Yorkers for health insurance coverage since October.

Meanwhile, state officials are pursuing a waiver to use up to $2 billion annually from Medicaid over five years to help struggling hospitals cut beds and admissions in a shift to more primary and outpatient medical care.

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Massachusetts has received a three-month extension from the federal government to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The extension comes a week after the state adjusted its approach to fix its troubled health care insurance website.

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Following a scathing report, Massachusetts is altering course as it attempts to deal with its health insurance website.

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Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has altered the state’s course in its attempts to fix its problem-plagued health insurance website.

www.nystateofhealth.ny.gov

As the March 31 deadline approaches and the website problems have been ironed out, more and more New Yorkers are signing up for health insurance as part of the Affordable Care Act. The state health department reports 587,000 completed applications have been filed, and enrollment is up 43 percent since December 24. Heather Howard is the program director for the state network, which is funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to encourage people to enroll. She recently spoke to WAMC’s  Brian Shields.

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The monthly update from Families USA on the progress of five state-sponsored health insurance plans was held this afternoon.

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Health care providers in western Massachusetts are offering their assistance and encouraging people to enroll in insurance plans under the federal Affordable Care Act, which has garnered negative since its rolling out on October 1.

NY Health Exchange Insures Thousands More

Dec 31, 2013

The state's new health exchange reports nearly 481,000 New Yorkers have completed applications for insurance while more than 241,000 of them have enrolled for specific coverage starting January 1.

The Health Department says enrollment for individual and family coverage since October includes 175,146 New Yorkers in the 16 commercial and nonprofit insurers in the exchange and 66,376 in government-funded Medicaid.

Blair Horner: Obamacare Gets Implemented

Dec 30, 2013

The beginning of 2014 heralds the full implementation of the federal health care reform law – the Affordable Care Act.  For most New Yorkers, the new law will have no noticeable impact.  For the 2 plus million New Yorkers who lack health insurance or who pay for it themselves, the new law offers dramatic changes.

Thousands Get 2014 Insurance From NY Exchange

Dec 24, 2013

With insurance through New York's health exchange starting next year, thousands of policyholders have to change coverage while even more uninsured are signing up for new policies.

Facing a late influx of applications, the exchange has pushed back enrollment deadlines twice, most recently to midnight Tuesday for policies effective Jan. 1.

Unlike the federal exchange operating in many states, New York established its own, which has had some but far fewer software problems.

Richard Iannuzzi: As to Babies and Bathwater

Dec 19, 2013

Tales from medieval times tell us that water was stored in barrels for bathing.  The male head of the household — most likely a farmer or tradesman — would bathe first.  He would be followed by his wife and their many children, in order of their birth.

The administrators of several state health care exchanges offered an update on the status of enrollments and operations Wednesday afternoon. 

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New York Congressman Bill Owens of the 21st District held a telephone town hall Thursday evening focused on one issue: the Affordable Care Act. 

Medical staff at Nathan Littauer Hospital
Nathan Littauer Hospital

Two start-up insurers in the New York health exchange, one promising unlimited telemedicine, say customer queries have been rising rapidly and they expect enrollment spikes by the new Dec. 23 deadline for coverage next year.

The state reports 27,000 more approved applications over the past week, bringing the total to 284,440. About one-third have enrolled in plans, 50,119 with the 16 commercial and nonprofit insurers and 40,984 in Medicaid.

WASHINGTON – If the US Supreme Court sides with business allowing it to make decisions as to what health coverage an employee will have under Obamacare, it will spell trouble, Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D, NY17) said Tuesday.

She was reacting to the court’s decision to take up challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that for-profit corporations include contraception coverage in employees’ insurance plans.

Rep. Paul Tonko
Lucas Willard / WAMC

New York Congressman Paul Tonko, a Democrat representing the Capital Region, says his Republican colleagues could face political fallout if the bumpy rollout of the Affordable Care Act gives way to a successful program in the long term. Tonko spoke on WAMC’s Congressional Corner program.


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A new report by Families USA finds less than one percent of the non-elderly U.S. population is at risk of losing its current insurance plan and paying more for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Families USA has been a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act and has worked to counter negative public opinion during the botched rollout that had President Obama apologizing earlier this month. The organization's executive director, Ron Pollack, says the ACA prevents insurers from selling substandard plans.

www.nystateofhealth.ny.gov

Amid federal rollout troubles surrounding the online marketplace healthcare.gov., state health exchange directors gathered on a conference call today to counter the negative publicity.

President Obama promised to fix the broken promises and broken website stemming from his Affordable Care Act.  Observers say the flawed rollout of the federal website in six weeks accomplished what Republicans failed to do in three years: undermine support not only for Obamacare but for Obama the president.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Mitt Romney is accusing President Barack Obama of being "dishonest" about his health care law.

Romney says Obama knew people would lose their private insurance coverage under the law. He criticizes Obama for promising that people could keep their existing plans if they wished.

In an interview on CBS This Morning  Friday, Romney said several times that Obama had been "dishonest." He says, quote, "What starts twisted, stays twisted."

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New York's new online health exchange reports 197,011 New Yorkers have completed applications to get insured, while 48,162 have subsequently enrolled in plans, nearly half in the government-funded Medicaid program for low-income New Yorkers.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

Massachusetts U.S. Congressman Richard Neal made it out to the westernmost portion of his district today.

The Democrat spoke to members of the Pittsfield Rotary Club on a wide range of topics including what’s ahead for the federal government in terms of the economy and the debt ceiling.

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New York state's web site for people seeking health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s new exchange appears to be working again. Just after noon today, a message that new applications could not be processed had been taken down. Meantime, Families USA held a teleconference with state exchange officials and navigators to get an update on progress in enrolling citizens.

Today commentator Blair Horner of NYPIRG compares the federal healthcare program with the exchange in New York.

Once the antics ended over the shutdown of the federal government and a possible national default, all eyes focused on the implementation of the federal health care reform law; the Affordable Care Act.

And the picture has been ugly.

Andrew Coates: Glitches

Oct 25, 2013

Today, commentator Dr. Andrew Coates discusses the glitches plaguing the Affordable Care Act website.

When I was young I worked as a carpenter's helper here in rural upstate New York. The man I worked for, a treasure of local lore is someone who possesses generous good humor and a gift for analogy. On ladders and roofs, in the back road truck journeys to our jobs and at the sawhorses we would debate the big questions of life and also share the most pedestrian observations about farm and family life.

Poll: NY Residents Divided Over Health Care Law

Oct 23, 2013

A new poll has found more New York state residents who favor moving ahead with the new health care law than those who want to repeal it.

A Siena poll released Tuesday found 43 percent of respondents saying they want to see the law go forward. Another 32 percent say the law should be put on hold until it's workable and affordable and 22 percent want it repealed.

Democrats were far more supportive than Republicans of the law, which remains controversial. Other polls have shown Americans are just as likely to say it was a bad idea as a good one.

WAMC

Sean Eldridge, a Democratic candidate for Congress who is challenging Republican Chris Gibson in the 2014 race for the 19th District seat, tells WAMC that the government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis are proof that America needs new leadership.

Coates: Political Divisions Harm Health

Oct 11, 2013

The government shutdown and the disconnect on health care By Andrew D. Coates, M.D., F.A.C.P.

I’d like to offer some thoughts this week about the discussion over health care in Washington. We’re heading into the second week of the federal government shutdown, in which the right wing of Congress has demanded that President Obama step back from his health reform.

This reveals to me the shocking disconnect between the center-stage discussion in Washington and the everyday discussion we have at our kitchen tables, at our jobs, and with our friends.

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Affordable healthcare is just a click away in New York, where officials are trumpeting the rollout of the state's health exchange as a success. 

Since the health exchange went live online October 1, more than 40-thousand New Yorkers completed the application process for health insurance: officials say the number surpasses the numbers reported by any other state.

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