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.


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.

wikipedia commons

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.


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.

10/21/13 Panel

Oct 21, 2013

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, activist and commentator Libby Post, and Ray Graf. Joe Donahue moderates.

Topics include:
Health Care Rollout
Cruz Vs. McConnell
GOP Still Divided over Healthcare
GOP Goals Ignored
Latest Siena Poll


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.

Dr. Alan Chartock's Morning Commentary

Oct 8, 2013

WAMC political observer Dr. Alan Chartock talks about California Governor Jerry Brown vetoing a bill that would have allowed immigrants to serve on juries and the regulation of money in politics.

10/3/13 - Panel

Oct 3, 2013

  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, newsman Ray Graf and University at Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Reporter, Rosemary Armao. Joe Donahue moderates.

Topics include:
Fiscal Crisis
Costs of Shutdown
Tom Clancy

Rep. Chris Gibson
..:: WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas ::..

With about a week to go before all employers must comply with certain elements of the Affordable Care Act and individual health exchanges open, tensions are rising as lawmakers in Washington find themselves embroiled in a  bitter battle over defunding "Obamacare."

401(K) 2013/Creative Commons

A national, nonprofit consumer health organization is calling October 1 a milestone, when more than 2.4 million New Yorkers may enroll in health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Two congressional representatives say many are probably unaware of the financial help available.


With some uncertainty and much anticipation, New Yorkers join all Americans in preparing for a monumental change in the nation’s health care. Proponents of the Affordable Care Act believe it should not be feared, but embraced. They aim to set the course of public perception in a friendly direction.

Public health exchanges are scheduled to begin operations October 1st. They were created by federal mandate to make affordable health insurance available to everyone.

401(K) 2013/Creative Commons

The New York Health Benefit Exchange has listed health and dental plans for individuals and small business owners that will be available for enrollment starting Oct. 1 and coverage beginning next year.

The exchange, established under a federal mandate, is expected to help enroll 1.1 million uninsured New Yorkers and includes subsidies for those who meet certain income thresholds.

It has also changed its name to "NY State of Health"

Blair Horner: Back-peddling On Obamacare

Aug 19, 2013

The debate over health care reform has been remarkable.  The Obama Administration offers a plan based on the program in Massachusetts, which was developed as the result of a bipartisan agreement.  The Congress approves it and the US Supreme Court rules it to be legal.

Uninsured Americans face major decisions on health coverage, and the deadline is fast approaching.
The good news for New Yorkers is, they will have access to plenty of personalized help in making their Affordable Care Act choices.  Susan Dooha with the Center for Independence of the Disabled-New York says the Act is opening the door for up to a million New Yorkers to gain access to health coverage, and they won’t have to go it alone.

Last week some of the economic benefits of the federal health care reform law became evident.  The Cuomo Administration released its estimates on the costs of health insurance for those who must pay for coverage – people who don’t get health insurance from the government or their employer.  Virtually all New Yorkers will have to have health coverage by January 1, 2014.

 As the nation moves closer to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the debate continues.  The House of Representatives’ leadership will, once again, advance legislation to repeal the law.  Predictably, the effort will fail.

4/2/13 - Panel

Apr 2, 2013

  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, WAMC’s News Director Ian Pickus, and Times-Union Capital reporter, Jimmy Vielkind.

This morning our discussion topics include:
Malcolm Smith's arrest
NYS Budget Wrap-up
Pork in the Budget
Obamacare Delays
North Korea Monitoring
Baseball’s Opening Day

Blair Horner: Obamacare's Third Birthday

Mar 25, 2013

This past weekend marked the third anniversary of passage of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”  This is the ACA’s big year; this Fall Americans will be allowed to start enrolling in health insurance plans.  Starting on January 1, 2014, virtually all Americans will be required to have health insurance – either from the government, their employer, or through a health exchange.  Yet, even at this late date, many Americans are still unsure of its impact.

3/11/13 - Panel

Mar 11, 2013

  We are launching a new format for the first hour of The Roundtable today and will have a panel discussion featuring Alan Chartock, Capital Correspondent, Karen Dewitt, WAMC News staff Ian Pickus and Ray Graf. The panel will be moderated by Joe Donahue.

Today's topics are:
Guns and legislating them, Paul Ryan's desire to appeal ObamaCare, drones and last week's filibuster, and sugar in New York City.

Blair Horner: The Fight Over Obamacare Continues

Dec 17, 2012

The clock is ticking for Obamacare.  The federal health care law goes into effect in one year – with uninsured Americans allowed to sign up for coverage in about ten months.  Last Friday, implementation of the new law took a big step forward.

Blair Horner: Fact checking the health care debate

Oct 23, 2012

As we all know, the fate of the federal health care reform law is to be decided by voters this November.  There are those running against the law that argue that they want to “repeal and replace” the law. 

However, there has been no alternative offered by opponents – just vague promises, partial pledges and grotesque distortions of the federal law itself.

In the heat of the political season, it’s important to take a closer look at opponents’ promises.

How important is the issue of health care to you in this year's Presidential Election?

No sooner had the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in support of the constitutionality of the federal health care reform law, than a new attack was launched on health coverage for the poor.

One provision of the Affordable Care Act dramatically expanded the Medicaid program – which provides health insurance for the poor.  The ACA requires that states have to expand coverage to those who make just above poverty level.  If a state refused the expansion, the federal government would withdraw its funding of that state’s program.


The America I love is disappearing from the public scene. When the Supreme Court ruling upheld the constitutionality of ObamaCare, a disturbing and, in my opinion, dangerous precedent has been created, one not different from the “separate but equal” precedent behind Plessy v. Ferguson. A majority court decision confirms the view that there are virtually no limitations on the power of Congress. Using a latitudinarian interpretation of the Commerce Clause, Congress can mandate almost anything.


Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal health care reform law which is critical to improving access to quality, affordable health care for people with cancer and their families.

The ruling is a victory for cancer patients and survivors nationwide, who for decades have been denied health coverage, charged far more than they can afford for lifesaving care, and forced to spend their life savings on necessary treatment, simply because they have a pre-existing condition.


It has been an article of faith among those opposed to the federal health care reform law that it must be repealed.  You see it all the time: “repeal Obamacare.”  But what does that mean?  Do they really mean repeal everything?  It turns out that the answer is “yes.”

The law is extensive.  It covers lots of issues.

There was some big news for New York’s uninsured last week.  First, a report was released that examined the characteristics of those upstate New Yorkers who lack health insurance coverage.  Using data obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau, the health insurer Excellus released a profile of those who lacked health insurance in upstate New York.  Here are some of them: