Obamacare

Affordable Care Act
10:25 am
Fri November 1, 2013

What Obamacare Means for Texas Students' Health Insurance

Students have several heath care options under the Affordable Care Act, although the law has helped drive up prices in the insurance marketplace.
flickr.com/lidor

University of North Texas student Angela Quijano didn’t think about health insurance much before the Affordable Care Act. She says she didn’t know how the health insurance system worked and found getting coverage confusing.

Quijano did know one thing, though: she couldn’t go to the doctor because she didn’t have any health insurance.

“Nobody ever really talks about it. My parents basically told me when I had it, or (when) I didn’t have it,” Quijano, a 22-year-old senior majoring in political science, says. “Not too many of us think about it until it comes time to get a yearly checkup or something comes up.”

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Affordable Care Act
9:38 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Rural Texas Has Fewer Obamacare Choices - And Less Expensive Plans

Though people in urban Texas who buy health insurance on the federally-run marketplace have dozens of plans to choose from, they're not cheaper than in rural Texas.
healthcare.gov

One of the big promises of the Affordable Care Act was that encouraging insurance companies to compete to sell their health plans would drive down prices.

Here in Austin, people who choose to buy health insurance on the federally-run health insurance marketplace have dozens of plans to choose from. Texans in many rural parts of the state will find far fewer. But they're not necessarily more expensive than in urban parts.

Take Loving County. It's pretty rural. According to the Census Bureau, just 71 people were living in this West Texas county in 2012, down from 82 in 2010.

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Affordable Care Act
8:10 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Obamacare Enrollment Period Extended 6 Weeks

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 7:33 pm

Following a problem-plagued launch of the HealthCare.gov website, the White House on Monday officially announced a six-week extension to sign up for coverage under the law's individual mandate.

The move has been expected since White House Press Secretary Jay Carney acknowledged last week that there was a "disconnect" in the enrollment timeline given the technical issues that have dogged the website.

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Affordable Care Act
4:33 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Sebelius Vows to Fix Obamacare Site, Calls for Texas Medicaid Expansion

Central Health CEO Patricia Young Brown, left, and Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell join Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a CommUnity Care clinic in Austin on Oct. 25, 2013.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

With all of the attention on the health care marketplace website problems, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in Austin today for some damage control. 

Sebelius went to CommUnityCare’s East Austin Health Center, where she promised that problems with healthcare.gov and its Spanish-language version will get fixed.

She also praised mayors across Texas for supporting Medicaid expansion, and urged state leaders to join them.

"I’m hoping that Texas takes another look at that opportunity because there will be millions of people still left on the side of the road with no affordable options," Sebelius said.

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Affordable Care Act
1:27 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Administration: A Month Needed To Fix Obamacare Enrollment Site

The HealthCare.gov insurance exchange site shown on Oct. 1, when it opened. Since then, it's been plagued with problems.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 2:37 pm

A subcontractor that built a portion of the HealthCare.gov website that's now working relatively well is being promoted to oversee a thorough revamping of the entire glitch-prone portal, and work will be done by the end of next month, the White House says.

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Affordable Care Act
10:25 am
Thu October 24, 2013

At Health Care Hearing, Republicans And Democrats Clash Again

HealthCare.gov

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 1:50 pm

(Click here to jump to our latest updates — including a Democrat accusing Republicans of holding a "monkey court.")

Republicans in the House have framed the central question they want answered about the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act this way, NPR's Ailsa Chang said Thursday on Morning Edition:

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Politics
3:06 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Columnist Eugene Robinson Talks Texas, Obamacare, and the Era of Gridlock

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Eugene Robinson.

In the mid-1970’s, Eugene Robinson began his career in journalism. He joined The Washington Post in the '80's, covering domestic and foreign affairs before moving on to a managing editor post.

More recently, Robinson's become known nationally as a Pulitzer prize-winning columnist and contributor to MSNBC. Prior to his appearance at the University of Texas to deliver this year's Mary Alice Davis Distinguished Lecture in Journalism, Robinson stopped by the KUT studios to talk about the current political climate and how the politics of Texas – and healthcare – factor into it. 

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Affordable Care Act
8:51 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Despite Obamacare, Few Health Options for Texas' Undocumented Immigrants

Immigrants must be “lawfully present” in the U.S. to buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace.
KUT News

It’s been a full week since the opening of the health insurance marketplaces created through the Affordable Care Act. But only certain people qualify to buy insurance through that system.

Immigrants must be “lawfully present” to qualify to buy through the marketplace. That includes Green Card holders, refugees, Cuban or Haitian immigrants, people on worker and student visas and victims of human trafficking. But the 1.5 million undocumented immigrants estimated to live Texas are not included.

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Affordable Care Act
4:57 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

As Marketplace Launches, Central Texas Groups Push for Insurance Outreach

United Way and Central Health navigation specialists answer phone calls on Oct. 1, 2013, the launch date of the federal health insurance marketplace.
Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Austin officials and health advocates expressed excitement for the launch of the federally-run health insurance marketplace today. But they are also reminding people that outreach efforts have a long way to go.

“It is our responsibility to get the word out," said Central Health’s Rosie Mendoza during a press conference at United Way. "It’s everyone’s responsibility here today to help us do that.”

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Affordable Care Act
9:33 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Obamacare Marketplace Open in Texas: How to Enroll, Where to Get Help

The federal health insurance marketplace opens today.
healthcare.gov

Today marks the opening of the Affordable Care Act’s federal health insurance marketplace – healthcare.gov.

Beginning today, consumers can begin purchasing health insurance plans, with coverage beginning Jan. 1. It’s a signature component of the insurance changes collectively known as "Obamacare."

KUT has been covering the run-up to today’s marketplace opening. Here’s some answers to common questions about the marketplace: the types of coverage offered, how to navigate the marketplace and more, including an interactive guide.

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Affordable Care Act
4:32 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Texas 'Obamacare' Navigators Testify Against Extra Training Requirements

From left to right: Sam Brown, Kursten Berry and Demetrio Selman are navigators who have been trained by Houston nonprofit Change Happens.
KUT News

The Affordable Care Act’s federal health insurance marketplace opens in Texas tomorrow. Workers known as navigators will help Texans sign up for health insurance. But these navigators are at the center of a political debate in Texas. 

Gov. Rick Perry recently directed the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) to come up with more training and regulations for navigators. He based his directive on a new law authored by Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, called Senate Bill 1795. 

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Affordable Care Act
9:02 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Houston Gears Up For Obamacare, Despite GOP Opposition

Enroll America outreach worker Rosy Mota (right) talks about the federal health care law with a CVS customer.
Carrie Feibel

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 7:26 am

Two high-profile Texans are fighting the Affordable Care Act.

Gov. Rick Perry has loudly dismissed the law, and fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz took to the Senate floor this week to rail against it at length — 21 hours and 19 minutes to be exact.

On the other side of the issue, you have Rosy Mota and her clipboard, standing at the door of a CVS pharmacy in one of Houston's Latino neighborhoods, stopping shoppers.

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Affordable Care Act
11:09 am
Wed September 25, 2013

With A Call For Prayer, Cruz Wraps Up Protest Against Obamacare

Sen. Ted Cruz's anti-Obamacare strategy seemed to fall flat Tuesday with many of his fellow Senate Republicans. They urged him to back down out of concern over a possible government shutdown next week.
C-SPAN.org screen shot

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 12:17 pm

Update at noon ET. It's Over:

Saying that "it's fitting that this debate concludes with a prayer" because he believes Americans are pleading with Congress to defund President Obama's health care law, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas just wrapped up his marathon protest on the Senate floor.

Cruz began speaking just after 2:40 p.m. ET Tuesday and abided by Senate rules when he finished at noon today.

"The pleas from the American people," he said of what he sees as the public's opposition to Obamacare, "are deafening."

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Affordable Care Act
7:59 am
Wed September 25, 2013

See the First Austin Prices for Health Insurance in the 'Obamacare' Marketplace

The federal government says, for the most part, the cost of premiums for both individuals and families will drop from current rates.
Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released preliminary costs for health insurance in the marketplaces opened under the Affordable Care Act.

The marketplaces are slated to open Oct. 1. These numbers are expected to change in the coming months after the marketplaces open, and before the Affordable Care Act goes into effect on Jan. 1.

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Politics
7:04 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Confusion Lingers in Texas as Insurance Exchange Enrollment Nears

Alfredo Santos and Erica Gammill, left, with Enroll America, speak to potential consumers of the federal health insurance marketplace in Austin on Aug. 24, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

The federal government is spending millions to promote new health insurance plans being sold through online marketplaces as part of the Affordable Care Act.

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Politics
5:02 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Sen. Ted Cruz Calls on Texans to Oppose Obamacare

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, spoke against the Affordable Care Act at a press conference in Austin on Aug. 22, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is spending some time in Texas as the August recess winds down. Today’s stops included a visit to National Instruments in Austin, where he’s calling for people to join his effort against the Affordable Care Act. 

He's urging the public to sign an online petition aimed at influencing members of the U.S. Congress to vote to get Obamacare defunded in a government appropriations bill.

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