Affordable Care Act

Jim Mone / AP

The state Department of Health granted a dozen licenses this week to companies that will grow and process medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. These 12 permittees have six months to become operational, which the state has yet to clearly define.

WESA's Liz Reid and The Incline's Sarah Anne Hughes discuss what Pennsylvanians can expect from medical marijuana in the state.

Barney Moss / Flickr

Pennsylvania’s children are faring a bit better than their counterparts nationally in education, according to a new report form the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The 2017 Kids Count Data Book ranks the commonwealth 18th in the U.S. for overall child well-being.

Susan Walsh / AP

Katie Horowitz is making dinner at her home in Morningside. On this night, it’s sautéed spinach with chicken breasts boiled in broth.

“One of the hardest parts of this diet is that you have to cook everything,” Horowitz said. “I have a really busy job, and it’s really challenging to find time.”

Horowitz was diagnosed last year with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel condition, and is now on a very restrictive diet. She’s been hospitalized several times, and her doctor said she’ll likely need surgery someday.

NPR

The Republican health care bill under consideration in the House of Representatives would change health coverage for a lot of people. It would no longer require that Americans buy health insurance, for instance, and it would eliminate current subsidies, replacing them with a fixed refundable tax credit. To help Americans understand where Congress stands on the debate over this legislation, NPR and Member stations around the country have compiled a database of Congressional members’ positions on the bill.

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Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program.

Each week reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

This week’s topics include a look at what could happen in Pennsylvania if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. We'll discuss the contract negotiations between Mayor Bill Peduto and the Fraternal Order of Police. Also, we'll look at plans to get funding to repair Pennsylvania's bridges and roads.

HealthCare.gov

  

In his first speech to a joint session of Congress, President Donald Trump Tuesday night urged the House and Senate to make good on a promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

In doing so, the president endorsed a key provision of a Republican plan in the House: providing tax credits to help consumers.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

At a people’s town hall in Washington, Pa., southwest of Pittsburgh, an audience of about 45 listened to Leeann Howell talk about how repealing the Affordable Care Act would affect her.

Matt Rourke / AP

After weeks of constituents demanding more access, Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey held an over-the-phone town hall from Washington D.C. on Thursday afternoon.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

A small group of women camped out in Station Square Wednesday with an SUV filled with feminine hygiene products and read from the 45-year-old seminal women’s health book Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

 

 


Gynecologist Colleen Krajewski tells anyone who will listen -- intrauterine devices are "the Cadillac of birth control right now.”

Toby Talbot / AP

The Pennsylvania Health Access Network is urging lawmakers against repealing the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion, saying it would intensify the state’s opioid abuse epidemic.

“The opioid epidemic is devastating families across Pennsylvania,” said Pennsylvania Health Access Network Executive Director Antoinette Kraus. “Congress’s plans to repeal the ACA without a replacement will leave them out in the cold.

Law Insuring 1 Million Pennsylvanians Faces Uncertain Future

Dec 12, 2016
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

 

 

About 1 million people in Pennsylvania are receiving government-subsidized health insurance under Democrats' 2010 health care law that is facing an uncertain future as Republican President-elect Donald Trump takes office next month with a pledge to repeal it.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

 

Planned Parenthood says it added more than 800 volunteers in Pennsylvania since Donald Trump won the presidential election three weeks ago.

The organization says it usually gets about 20 to 25 new volunteers in a month.

"The outpouring of support that we've seen over the last two weeks is like nothing I have seen in my 12-and-a-half years with Planned Parenthood. It is unprecedented," said Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Executive Director Sari Stevens.

Richard Drew / AP

While stock markets initially dropped overnight after it became clear that Donald Trump had won the presidential election, they recovered throughout the day on Wednesday. Those fluctuations support the view of one Pittsburgh economist, who says we should take a “wait and see” approach to the economy.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Landon DePaulo’s manniversary is Dec. 27, 2012.

That’s when he injected his first $100 shot of testosterone. It's a steep cost to look like himself, he said.

Insurance giant Aetna will stop selling health insurance through most of the exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act in 2017 because the company said it is losing money in many of those markets.

On Monday, Aetna said it will sell individual insurance policies in only 242 counties in four states, down almost 70 percent from the 778 counties in 15 states where the company markets Obamacare plans this year.

HealthCare.gov

Open enrollment for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act begins in a few months. And for many, navigating the provider exchange can be a daunting task.

As he takes the stage Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine is firmly in Hillary Clinton's camp — and his party's — on the big health care issues. Now a U.S. senator from Virginia, Kaine supports the Affordable Care Act and pushed its Medicaid expansion. He also worked to overhaul the mental health system when he was governor of Virginia.

Here are highlights and a few flashpoints of controversy from Kaine's health policy record:

Mental health

The Challenge Of Taking Health Apps Beyond The Well-Heeled

Jun 23, 2016

When you hear the phrase "digital health," you might think about a Fitbit, the healthy eating app on your smartphone, or maybe a new way to email the doctor.

But Fitbits aren't particularly useful if you're homeless, and the nutrition app won't mean much to someone who struggles to pay for groceries. Same for emailing your doctor if you don't have a doctor or reliable Internet access.

Does Offering Free Contraceptives Violate Religious Freedom?

Mar 24, 2016
Jacquelyn Martin / AP Images

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week putting faith-based groups’ rights to adhere to religious doctrine up against a woman’s right to access free birth control. We’ll discuss Zubik vs. Burwell with University of Akron law professor Wilson Huhn.

Uninsured Pennsylvanians Feeling Impact Of Health Care Deadline

Dec 15, 2015
Jasleen Kaur / flickr

Tuesday is the deadline for consumers to choose a health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act in order to receive coverage by January 1, 2016.

While the Pennsylvania Insurance Department ramps up efforts to make sure resources are available and accessible to families and individuals, Gov. Tom Wolf has commended the coverage expansion, which he says has dropped from 14 percent uninsured to 8 percent uninsured in two years. 

squirrelhillhealthcenter.org/

The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced over three-million dollars in Affordable Care Act funding will be divided among 5 new health center sites in Pennsylvania. This funding will allow these centers to provide health care services to communities needing them most. Joining us to discuss the importance of health centers is Susan Friedberg Kalson, CEO of the Squirrel Hill Health Center, a funding recipient.

Talk Radio News Service / flickr

Allegheny County health officials say they are already in line with new White House standards to fight HIV and AIDS.

The plan unveiled Thursday updates one issued by the Obama administration five years ago. Developments since then include new diagnostic tests, a daily pill for infection prevention and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which allows for more American’s to receive treatment and testing.

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Pennsylvania has been recognizing same-sex marriages for a little over a year. With the recent decision from the Supreme Court on the nationwide legality of gay marriage, we’ll address how their ruling could affect the nation with Pitt Law Professor Anthony Infanti.

Infanti touches on the impact of public opinion and how far we as a society have come:

"If you think about what would be a, quote on quote, strict interpretation of the constitution some people would say well go back 200 years ago and see what they would have said, the answer would have been very different than the answer we got today. … It does evolve overtime and clearly the court at some level takes into account where the country is at and where the country is willing to go." -Anthony Infanti 

Also, Pittsburgh Business Times reporter Kris Mamula discusses the upholding of a key provision of the Affordable Care Act by the Supreme Court, and we take a look at increased popularity of craft beers in Pittsburgh with food columnist Hal B. Klein and author Mark Brewer.

Gov. Wolf Seeks State Authority Over Health Insurance Marketplace

Jun 2, 2015
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration said Tuesday it has formally applied to take over the operation of Pennsylvania's health insurance marketplace as the Democrat seeks a bulwark against the potential loss of health insurance subsidies for hundreds of thousands of state residents.

Health Law Brings Growth In Food Stamps In Some States

Apr 22, 2015
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

President Barack Obama's health care law has had a surprising side effect: In some states, it appears to be enticing more Americans to apply for food stamps, even as the economy improves.

New, streamlined application systems built for the health care overhaul are making it easier for people to enroll in government benefit programs, including insurance coverage and food stamps.

Governor Wolf Begins Dismantling Corbett’s Healthy PA Program

Feb 10, 2015
Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

When Tom Wolf was campaigning for Governor, he said he would do away with then-Governor Tom Corbett's Healthy PA plan, and replace it with a full Medicaid expansion supported by the Affordable Care Act.

This week Gov. Wolf officially announced plans to transition from Healthy PA to the Medicaid expansion. We'll talk about the implications of this change with Antoinette Kraus, Director of PA Health Access Network.

Kraus says that her organization is relieved to see that Healthy PA will be phased out and the Medicaid expansion will be implemented. The PA Health Access Network has worked to enroll hundreds of Pennsylvanians in Healthy PA, but she says that the program has been complicated and bureaucratic, with substantial limits on accessing care and benefits.

Tom Wolf / Flickr

Carnegie Mellon University Health Law professor Gary Kaplan joins us to talk about how Pennsylvania’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act could change under the Wolf administration.

Professor Kaplan represents private employers in advising them on health care plan options. So what do employers need to know about the UPMC and Highmark contract in 2015?

Kaplan explains that Wolf is interested in going with a different plan for the implementation of the Medicaid expansion than what Tom Corbett had planned. 

One in four people live with some form of mental illness in the United States, according to the Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania.

But Health and Human Services announced recently that seven health centers in the commonwealth will receive a total of $1,750,000 in Affordable Care Act funding.

This will be used to establish or expand behavioral health services for more than 20,900 people in the commonwealth.

The Squirrel Hill Health Center was one of the seven clinics that received $250,000.

Connor Tarter / Flickr

One quarter of Pittsburgh area hospitals closed in the first decade of the 21st Century, drastically reducing the amount of charitable care available to the poor. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Sean Hamill looks at the implications in his two-part series "Poor Health."

Hamill spent a good deal of time speaking to people in clinic waiting rooms, he says while these people know where they can possibly see a doctor, they are only seen for five minutes. Hamill says hospitals were not like this years ago.

“The big advantage to the hospitals that existed before they were torn down…was, once you came in for something more severe than a cold, it might require some specialty care, some diagnostics care, you could get that all within the same hospital. They would keep you there, they would do the triage you required through an emergency room, but they would also make sure you got that next level of care.”

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