Affordable Care Act

KFOR

Oklahoma may lose its last insurer on the healthcare marketplace next year, reports KFOR. The number of insurers on the Oklahoma exchange has fallen after several carriers sustained significant losses.

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak noted the “absence of legislative action to create a solution that can restore the stability of our health insurance system.”

Oklahoma Watch

While legislators in Washington are mired in the process of deciding whether to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, lawmakers in Oklahoma are devising their own plan that could affect coverage for hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans.

Kansas freshman Republican Congressman Roger Marshall is getting a baptism of fire as he campaigns for the American Health Care Act — the bill Republicans introduced this week to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

Todd Wiseman / Becca Aaronson / The Texas Tribune

Republicans in Congress unveiled their healthcare plan this week, and the proposed legislation has many in Texas scratching their heads. As The Texas Tribune reports, the effects of the proposed plan in the Lone Star State are unclear.

Republicans have been getting ready to make good on long held promises to abolish the Affordable Care Act.

If that were to happen, certain states stand to suffer more than others. The personal finance website WalletHub performed a study to determine which states will be hurt the most, should Obamacare be undone without a replacement.

States that benefited the most from the legislation stand to lose the most, and states that neglected to embrace the legislation won’t be hurt as badly because they don’t have as far to fall.

50states.com

As Democratic lawmakers in Colorado push back against the GOP’s attempt to repeal Obamacare, some Coloradans who benefited from it are wondering what it will be replaced with.

Flap / Flickr Creative Commons

As HPPR has reported in the past, rural hospitals in the U.S. have been struggling a great deal in recent years. Many of them have closed.

This phenomenon is part of a larger trend of younger people moving to the cities and leaving rural areas with little help.

Rural hospitals have been hit hardest in states that refused to expand Medicaid or accept federal funding. These states include Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

ivn.us

Rural Americans continue to struggle to find adequate mental health care. That’s despite the fact that the Affordable Care Act guaranteed that mental and behavioral health treatment would be covered by all health insurance policies sold on the federal health exchange.

However, as IVN reports, psychological coverage does little good if you live in an area where no services are available.

NPR.org

High Plains women who’ve come to rely on free birth control under the Affordable Care Act may lose their benefits once the Trump administration takes the reins.

The law providing cost-free contraception has been popular among working women, but deeply unpopular with foes of abortion rights. And Trump’s pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services is an avowed opponent of reproductive rights.

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Federal officials expect over one million more people to sign up for Obamacare in 2017, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. The feds estimate that almost 14 million people will sign up for coverage. That’s compared with fewer than 13 million this year.

As The Rural Blog notes, the agency estimated that “average monthly enrollment in 2017 is estimated at 11.4 million people, up from 10.5 million people in 2016.”

The Washington post

The number of uninsured Americans has dropped to its lowest level since before the Great Recession, reports The Washington Post.

The gains in insured citizens came primarily among people buying individual policies, rather than getting health benefits through a job. This includes, but is not limited to, those obtaining insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Several key Texas lawmakers have shown little interest in expanding Medicaid in Texas, according to The Texas Tribune.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

Rural Americans are benefitting greatly from the Affordable Care Act, according to a new study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In fact, rural citizens are gaining health insurance coverage faster than their urban counterparts, as member station KMUW reports. 

This is especially striking given that two-thirds of uninsured rural people live in states like Kansas and Texas that have not expanded Medicaid eligibility.

Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

In Oklahoma, insurance revenues for home health care dropped last year in comparison to previous years. At the same time, the price of home healthcare rose 2.5 percent over last year, reports member station KGOU. In fact, healthcare costs are rising in every area of health care in Oklahoma.

It’s not just in Oklahoma; home health care costs are going up nationwide. The reason? More Medicare providers are trying to keep chronically ill patients out of hospitals.

healthcare.gov

From the Kansas Health Institute:

About 12 percent dropped coverage, close to national average.

Almost nine out of every 10 Kansans who selected health insurance on the federal online marketplace paid for at least the first month of their coverage this year, offering one bit of stability in the sometimes-turbulent marketplace.

Rural Americans are gaining health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act at rates outpacing their urban counterparts, according to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Insurer only MCO to report no expenses for Kansas legislator meals in 2016

For the second year in a row, UnitedHealthcare reported no lobbying expenses during the Kansas legislative session.

The insurance company remained the outlier among the three under contract to administer KanCare, the privatized form of Medicaid that Kansas adopted in 2013.

Public Domain

Health premiums under the Affordable Care Act could rise more next year than in previous years, according to Kaiser Health News. Premiums for one popular type of “silver” plan could rise 10 percent in 2017. This year that same plan’s cost only rose five percent. Projections are based on preliminary insurance rates filed with state regulators. These rates are still subject to federal review.

fstop/Getty Images

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Doctors-in-training learn a lot about the workings of the human body during medical school and residency. But many are taught next to nothing about the workings of the health care system. One university in Washington, D.C., is trying to change that.

Carl Juste / MBR/Houston Chroncile

Five nonprofit organizations in Texas have been awarded almost $5 million by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, reports The Houston Chronicle. The money will go toward boosting efforts to enroll the state's nearly three-quarters of a million uninsured children.

akronohio.gov

From the Kansas Health Institute:

The Obama administration on Wednesday moved to sharply limit short-term health insurance plans, which a growing number of consumers have been buying even though they offer less coverage than what the Affordable Care Act decreed all people should have.

v1ctor / Flickr Creative Commons

From the Kansas Health Institute:

A broad proposal by Medicare to change the way it pays for some drugs has drawn intense reaction and lobbying, with much of the debate centering on whether the plan gives too much power over drug prices to government regulators.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Health advocates cheered this week when Oklahoma officials announced they were considering expanding Medicaid in that state. Oklahoma has been missing out on millions of federal health care dollars with its decision to not participate in the Affordable Care Act. But with ballooning budget problems and rising health care costs in the state, opting out no longer seems viable. And that means Texas could be next, reports member station KUT.

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Most Americans want the government to pay for health care, a new poll shows. According to KRMG Tulsa, 58 percent favor replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, with a federally funded health care program.

Chan Lone / Texas Tribune

Despite lower uninsured rates that in previous eras, Texas still has one of the highest rates of uninsured children in the country, reports member station KUT. And those rates seem to differ according to racial and ethnic lines, according to new evidence.

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

While many Texans have signed up for Obamacare in recent years, a new study has found that many of them may not understand what they’ve signed up for, reports CNBC. According to new research, people who get health coverage through their jobs or government-run programs like Medicare are generally familiar with terms like premium, deductible and co-pay. But Texans who buy coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace are less comfortable with these terms.

Jim McClean / Kansas Health Institute

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Health care problems just one result of the economic decline of rural communities.

Members of Gov. Sam Brownback’s Rural Health Working Group have their work cut out for them.

Representatives of the state’s hospitals and doctors painted a sobering picture of the problems facing rural providers at the group’s first meeting Tuesday evening.

Marketplace Enrollment Climbs in Kansas, Missouri

Feb 9, 2016
US Department of Health and Human Services

From the Kansas Health Institute:

The enrollment period for the federal health insurance marketplace closed Monday night, with higher enrollment than last year in Kansas and Missouri.

www.travelnursesource.com

Another rural hospital has closed, this time in western Oklahoma, reports The Times Record. Sayre Memorial Hospital in Sayre, Oklahoma, abruptly shut its doors on Monday. The facility blamed “continual financial strain.” Oklahoma’s GOP leaders have refused to expand Medicaid, leading to a drop in income for many hospitals across the state.

Melissa del Bosque / Texas Observer

According to The Texas Observer, more than 1 million poor Texas adults will remain without insurance if Texas doesn’t expand Medicaid, experts say. According to a new report, uninsured Texans say cost is the main reason they do not have insurance. Researchers found that 70 percent of uninsured Texans find health insurance too expensive.

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