Affordable Care Act

ACA Funding Freeze Adds Uncertainty For PA Marketplace

Jul 11, 2018
Andrew Harnik / AP

The U.S. Health and Human Services department has put a freeze on $10.4 billion in funding that was expected to go to Affordable Care Act insurers later this year, raising questions about the future of the exchange in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Both photos by Matt Rourke / AP

A fundraising visit by Vice President Mike Pence has sparked a health care debate in Pennsylvania's race for governor.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The insurance mandates of the Affordable Care Act and expansion of Medicaid helped prevent hospitals in Pennsylvania from losing more than $80 million in 2017. 

The findings come via a report on the state's health care finances from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4), an independent state agency established in the 1980s by the state legislature to analyze and report information to improve the costs and quality of health care in Pennsylvania. 

District 18 Race Suggests Almost No GOP Candidate Is Safe

Mar 15, 2018
J. Scott Applewhite

The message to Republicans from the Pennsylvania special election was simple: Almost no one is safe.

Rattled Republicans were hit with a day-after reality check Wednesday after the startlingly strong performance of a fresh-faced Democrat deep in Trump country.

Subconsci Productions / Flickr

People who retire early may be tempted to purchase so-called “skinny” health insurance plans before Medicare kicks in because they’re less expensive, but Pennsylvania’s Acting Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman told an AARP audience in Penn Hills on Wednesday that they should be careful when considering this type of insurance, as it’s not compliant with the Affordable Care Act.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA


Just days away from the March 13 special congressional election between Republican Rick Saccone (Elizabeth) and Democrat Conor Lamb (Mt. Lebanon), volunteers are knocking doors, calling voters and distributing campaign literature in an effort to get out the vote in the 18th District south of Pittsburgh.

Presidencia de la Republica Mexicana / flickr

The number of Pennsylvanians enrolled in insurance plans sold through the federal HealthCare.gov marketplace shrank slightly, as state officials accused the Trump administration of trying to undermine the system.

Matt Rourke / AP

 

The open enrollment period for people buying health insurance through the Affordable Care Act comes to a close this Friday—a period half as long as last year’s. Nearly 80 percent of Pennsylvanian consumers selected the “middle-of-the-road” silver plan last year, but this year, costs for silver plans have rocketed.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

The open enrollment period for people buying insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace ends next Friday.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Wednesday is the first day of the open enrollment period for Americans to buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act for 2018.

About 40,000 Allegheny County residents were enrolled in marketplace plans through the exchanges last year, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said.

“It has been a tremendous benefit,” said Fitzgerald. “Not just for their physical health and their health security, but also on their financial security, families and where they live.”

Andrew Harnik / AP

The window to sign up for individual health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplace begins Wednesday, Nov. 1, amid fewer federal resources to help people sign up and increased confusion over the law itself. 

Pittsburgh Diocese Settles Suit Over Birth Control Mandate

Oct 17, 2017
Andrew Rush / AP Images

The Pittsburgh and Erie Roman Catholic dioceses have settled lawsuits seeking to overturn an Affordable Care Act mandate that would have forced them to provide contraceptive and abortion-inducing drugs or services as part of their employee health care plans.

Wolf Blames Trump, Congress For Spiking Health Coverage Cost

Oct 16, 2017
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's administration is blaming President Donald Trump for a sharp increase in the cost of health insurance that'll take effect next year for residents who buy individual plans.

Wolf's administration released the approved 2018 rates Monday, saying the average increase will be just over 30 percent. Wolf's office said the increase would've been less than 8 percent if Trump hadn't halted cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers or created uncertainty around the fate of the individual mandate.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro says he's joining his counterparts in at least a dozen states to sue the Trump administration over its decision to stop paying cost-sharing subsidies to insurers.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Since the latest Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act failed to garner enough support, uncertainty is growing for consumers and insurers as a new enrollment period is set to begin Nov. 1.

“Right now, states are finalizing rates for plans for 2018,” said Teresa Miller, acting secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. “Without a bill to stabilize the market,  I think it's possible you could see companies exit the market entirely because they're just fed up with all of the uncertainty and still don't know what the rules for 2018 are.”

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

In McKees Rocks Thursday morning, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) spoke out against the Senate Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare with the Graham-Cassidy bill.

He was joined by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Health Department director Karen Hacker and Michelle Schwartzmier, whose 20-year-old daughter died of a heroin overdose earlier this year.

Weekly Toomey Protests Could Give Democrats A Boost In 2018

Jul 11, 2017
Emma Lee / WHYY

Almost every week, Terry Baraldi uses her Medicare card to get a discounted $1 train ride from her home in Landsdowne, Delaware County, to Center City.

NPR

This week, Republicans in Congress will try to rally votes behind a bill that proposes major changes to the way Americans get health care and how much they pay. In Pennsylvania, millions could be affected. Use this Q&A to explore how the bill would affect you.

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Katie Meyer / WITF

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey’s live TV town hall got off to a raucous start Wednesday, with advocacy groups from across the state showing up outside the Harrisburg studio to criticize the Republican for his support of the Senate GOP’s Affordable Care Act replacement bill.

Toomey spent much of the hour-long event defending the bill, which he helped author.

Jason Redman / AP

The Congressional Budget Office predicts 14 million Americans who currently have insurance would be without it next year if the Senate Republican version of the health care overhaul bill is adopted.

That's leaving officials behind some rural health systems worried.

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.”

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