Affordable Care Act

Health
12:17 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Free Birth Control Insurance Coverage Takes Effect Today

Women will receive eight new cost-free health care benefits starting August 1st.
Flickr user Monik Marcus, http://bit.ly/ODQleE

Starting today, millions of women are going to receive birth control coverage at no upfront cost, a change supporters say gives women greater access and control over their own health care.

Through a provision in the Affordable Care Act, “non-grandfathered” insurance plans must provide eight new, free prevention-related health services for policies renewed or issued on or after September 23, 2012.

The new services, provided with no cost-sharing, include: well-woman exams, screening for gestational diabetes, HPV DNA testing, domestic violence screenings and counseling, HIV screenings, breastfeeding supplies, contraception and family counseling services. 

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Health
12:26 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Millions in Rebates Doled Out to Insured Texans

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

As if perfectly cued to election season, multimillion-dollar rebates are being doled out across America by insurance companies thanks to a new rule in the federal Affordable Care Act, or ACA. Although the much-maligned “Obamacare” remains a prime target for Texas Republicans on the campaign trail, Democrats and other political consultants say the tangible benefits of the ACA now taking effect could change voters’ perspectives on President Obama's signature legislative package. 

“The hardest part politically for ACA has always been that it will take a while for the program to kick in and even longer for people to realize benefits,” Mark McKinnon, a political consultant and former media strategist for George W. Bush, said in an email. “These rebates will be a welcome surprise to a lot of consumers and help reduce angst about ACA.”

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Health
2:30 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

CBO: Supreme Court Ruling On Health Care Saves U.S. $84 Billion Over 11 Years

Susan Clark argues with another protester about the Affordable Care Act outside the U.S. Supreme Court.
Kris Connor Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 11:23 pm

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office finds that the Supreme Court ruling on President Obama's health care law will save the government $84 billion over the next 11 years.

While the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Healthcare Act, it also said it was up to states to choose whether to participate in an expansion of Medicaid.

That $84 billion in savings, the non-partisan CBO explained, comes from predictions that fewer states will enroll in the program.

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Health
4:34 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Texas Slow To Review Health Insurance Rate Hikes

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has opposed the expansion of Medicaid under the Accountable Care Act, and his administration has yet to review big health insurance rate hikes under the law.
L.M. Otero AP

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 5:56 pm

Few governors have been as vocal and as unequivocal in their opposition to the federal health care law as Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Perry, a Republican, has vowed not to expand Medicaid and not to create an insurance exchange. Consumer advocates in Texas say the Perry administration has also been dragging its feet when it comes to insurance rate review.

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Health
11:39 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Estimate of Texas Medicaid Expansion Drops by Billions

Estimates for the cost of expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act have been dramatically reduced.
Flickr user Images_Of_Money, bit.ly/LeSsiT

The cost of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act – which Texas Gov. Rick Perry has long opposed – has been dramatically reduced.

Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs told members of the Texas House Appropriations Committee the cost of expanded Medicaid services under the ACA would be $15 to $16 billion – some 40 percent less than an original estimate of $26 to $27 billion.

While a recent Supreme Court decision upheld the bulk of the Affordable Care Act, the court found states could not be denied existing Meidcaid funds if they opted-out of the Medicaid expansion the act allows for – instead, the states would be denied new Medicaid funds associated with the expansion.

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AM Update 7/12/2012
7:51 am
Thu July 12, 2012

AM Update: AISD Grad Rates Rising, Burn Ban Lifted, Texas Looks at the Affordable Care Act

AISD hopes to have the graduation rate up to 90 percent by 2014.
Laura Rice, KUT News

AISD Graduation Rates Continue to Rise

For the third year in a row, graduation rates are up in the Austin Independent School District.

The class of 2011 graduated 80 percent of students – that's up just over a percentage from last year and about six percent higher than than in 2008.

The Texas Education Agency says AISD made significant jumps in graduation rates specifically for economically-disadvantaged students and students who are still learning English. Debra Reedy, the Director of Assessment and Accountability for AISD, is pleased with those gains.

“That’s kind of been our goal, certainly in the last couple of years, to really focus on those gaps within those student groups and to try to decrease the gaps,” Reedy says.

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Health
8:59 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Perry: TX Won't Implement Key Elements of Health Reform

Todd Wiseman / Kjetil Ree for Texas Tribune

Texas will not expand Medicaid or establish a health insurance exchange, two major tenets of the federal health reform that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld last month, Gov. Rick Perry said in an early morning announcement.

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Courts
3:05 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

How The Health Care Ruling Might Affect Civil Rights

People gather outside the Supreme Court on June 28, the morning the health care ruling was announced. Lawyers say they're still teasing out the consequences for other key areas of the law — including civil rights.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 3:46 pm

There's been lots of talk about how the Supreme Court's landmark decision to uphold the health care law could affect the federal Medicaid program and President Obama's political standing. But days after the historic ruling, lawyers say they're still teasing out the consequences for other key areas of the law — including civil rights.

At first blush, it might seem odd that a case about the Affordable Care Act would send civil rights experts scrambling back to their law books.

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The Two-Way
12:19 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Chief Justice Roberts Jokes He's Headed to 'An Impregnable Fortress'

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 11:53 am

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts surprised the country yesterday by siding with the liberal wing of the court in the health care decision.

Roberts was appointed by President George W. Bush and has reliably taken conservative positions. But after yesterday's decision, you can bet his welcome from conservatives who saw him as a hero has chilled.

Speaking to a conference of judges and lawyers outside of Pittsburg, Roberts acknowledged his predicament.

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Health
10:30 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Video: Health Care Rally at Texas Capitol

A few dozen people rallied in front of the Capitol yesterday evening after the U.S. Supreme Court's historic ruling upholding most of the Affordable Care Act. We sent our University of Porto interns, Filipa Rodrigues and Mario Jacinto, to produce this video showing us what it looked like. 

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Health
4:59 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

As It Happened: Supreme Court Upholds Health Care Law

Supporters of President Obama's health care legislation celebrated outside after hearing that the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 11:39 am

The Supreme Court ruled today that the 2010 Affordable Care Act is constitutional — giving the Obama administration a big election year win over conservative critics who argue that the health care overhaul is a step on the way toward socialized medicine.

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Health
3:22 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Health Care Law Upheld: Now What?

A bulletin board in New York's Jamaica Hospital offers advice for uninsured patients.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 3:26 pm

Now that the Supreme Court has decided that the Affordable Care Act can stand, it's time to think about what the law actually means for your medical coverage. The requirement that everyone buy health insurance (the individual mandate) has gotten all the attention, but there's a lot more to the health law. So let's review the changes the law has already wrought and those that still lie ahead:

WHAT'S IN EFFECT:

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Health
12:33 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

They Got it Wrong - CNN, Fox Mistakenly Report Health Care Law Overturned

A Photoshopped alteration of the iconic Harry Truman photo. Tweeted by Gary He.
http://yfrog.com/hw7ozrfj

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 1:32 pm

MarketWatch calls this CNN and Fox's 'Dewey Defeats Truman' moment. For several surprising minutes this morning, both media companies wrongly announced that the Affordable Care Act had been overturned by the Supreme Court.

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Health
11:15 am
Thu June 28, 2012

Texas Reactions to SCOTUS’ Affordable Care Act Opinion

flickr.com/brendel

Lone star politicians are wasting no time sounding off on the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision this morning upholding the individual mandate at the heart of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature package of health care reforms.

Governor Rick Perry calls the opinion “a stomach punch to the American economy.”  

“Freedom was frontally attacked by passage of this monstrosity,” Perry says, “and the Court utterly failed in its duty to uphold the Constitutional limits placed on Washington. Now that the Supreme Court has abandoned us, we citizens must take action at every level of government and demand real reform, done with respect for our Constitution and our liberty.”

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Health
10:36 am
Thu June 28, 2012

SCOTUS Rules Federal Health Reform Constitutional

Todd Wiseman / Eddie Codel, Texas Tribune

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature health care legislation, is constitutional — including the individual mandate that forces Americans to carry health insurance, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The decision has far-reaching implications for Texas, where leaders have ardently opposed “Obamacare” even though the state has the country’s highest percent of uninsured residents. In addition to requiring all citizens to purchase health insurance, the law dramatically expands Medicaid, which already makes up close to a quarter of Texas’ state budget.

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8:18 am
Thu June 28, 2012

SCOTUS Health Care Ruling Today?

Lead in text: 
Excuse us if we sound like a broken record, but the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the Affordable Care Act today. NPR's health blog Shots has a quick primer on the issues at stake in the decision.
At the heart of it all is one legal question: Can the federal government compel uninsured people to buy health coverage?Opponents of the law see the so-called individual mandate as coercive and an illegal intrusion by the federal government. Some supporters of the law liken the insurance requirement to the same one for auto coverage.The high court could strike down the law entirely, chuck the mandate and leave other parts of the law intact, or uphold the whole thing.
Health
1:08 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Read The Tea Leaves, But Justices (And Their Clerks) Aren't Telling

The U.S. Supreme Court
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 1:26 pm

Several dozen people know how the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of President Obama's health care law. And it'll stay that way until sometime after 10 a.m. ET on Thursday, when the court releases its opinion to the rest of us.

The decision will have broad societal, economic and legal ramifications, and will play a featured role in the November presidential election. But the justices and their young law clerks — the only ones privy to the deliberations — don't leak opinions. It's virtually unheard of.

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Health
8:57 am
Fri June 22, 2012

Why Many Young Adults Might Lose Coverage if Health Law Falls

Jackson Cahn, who graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., is one of the 3 million young adults the Obama administration says would have risked going without insurance if the health care law hadn't allowed them to stay on their parents' policies. Because of the law, his mother, June Blender, was able to add him to her insurance.
Courtesy of June Blender

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 8:39 am

When it comes to health care, even the seemingly easy things become hard.

Take coverage for young adults under the Affordable Care Act.

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Health
9:48 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Supreme Court Punts on Health Care Decision

A health care decision may now come Monday.
flickr.com/envios

Despite wide speculation the U.S. Supreme Court would decide on the constitutionality of President Obama’s signature health care law today, no ruling was forthcoming this morning.

Instead, the high court issued decisions on four other cases, which you can find on the Supreme Court website.

AM Update 6/21/12
7:53 am
Thu June 21, 2012

AM Update: Health Care Decision Expected, New Education Website, 'Police Games' in Austin

Protesters clash over the Affordable Care Act in 2009.
KUT News

Supreme Court Health Care Decision Expected

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act possibly as soon as today.

The controversial law is the Obama administration’s most touted accomplishment. President Obama calls it "the most important piece of social policy since the Social Security Act in the 1930s, and the most important reform of our health care system since Medicare passed in the 1960s."

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