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affordable care act

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John Dingell,  the longest-serving member of Congress in American history, died Thursday of cancer at age 92.

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Last year the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued rules that employers could opt out of covering birth control for their employees. The rules are set to take effect later this month.

Attorney General Dana Nessel announced on Monday that Michigan is joining a list of states challenging that exemption.

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Michiganders could get a better deal on health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, but only if they enroll by the December 15th deadline.

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Today on Stateside, how the Affordable Care Act has impacted public health in Michigan in the five years since it was enacted. Plus, a conversation with the director of the Great Lakes National Cemetery, one of two national cemeteries in Michigan where the state's veterans are laid to rest.

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

 Reimund Holzhey mugshot
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Today on Stateside, after a contentious city council meeting, Kalamazoo is moving to meet the demands of homeless protestors camped out in a downtown park. Plus, nationally-recognized teacher Matinga Ragatz talks about why she thinks school reform is hurting, not helping, students.

Michigan Truth Squad: Michigan Democratic Party attacks Bill Schuette on health care

Sep 7, 2018
Bill Schuette
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The Michigan Democratic Party is accusing Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette of hypocrisy for telling people as he campaigns for governor that he supports insurance coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions, given that as attorney general he joined suits to strike down the Affordable Care Act, which includes those protections.

The window to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is smaller this year, but that hasn't slowed enrollment in Michigan.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 153,241 Michigan residents were signed up for health insurance through HealthCare.gov as of December 9

That's a 16 percent jump from the same time last year, when 131,989 were signed up. 

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For the last three years, millions of Americans have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. This year, enrollment will be open from November 1 to December 15.

Exam room.
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This Wednesday marks the start of the open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.

This fifth enrollment season is the first one under President Trump, and it’s marked by what critics call his efforts to undermine the ACA.

Marianne Udow-Phillips from the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation joined Stateside to walk us through what to expect.

Listen above for the full conversation, or read highlights below.

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Governor Rick Snyder says he’s concerned that President Trump’s decision to end subsidies that help low-income families pay for health insurance could make rates unaffordable.

Snyder says more study is needed to determine the state’s next move, but he hopes Congress will act quickly to settle things.

“I think there are reforms needed to the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “Some parts have worked well, others need more work, and the part that needs more work has been in the insurance markets. This makes it more challenging, but hopefully it gets to the point where Congress could hopefully do some bipartisan actions to improve things.”

About 156,300 Michigan consumers have subsidized health plans. It’s estimated the loss of the subsidies would cause their rates to spike by 28 percent.

The subsidies are already the subject of lawsuits. And there could be more legal action to challenge the presidential order to immediately end the subsidies.

money
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Republicans have failed, so far, to pass a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), much to the visible frustration of President Trump.

There’s now a third attempt, the Graham-Cassidy bill, gathering steam in the Senate for a possible vote next week.

At the same time, the White House is being accused of trying to strangle the ACA by slashing funding for navigators, the groups who help people get health insurance.

Enroll Michigan

The Trump administration is cutting funding for Enroll Michigan by 90%.

Enroll Michigan funds 30 subcontractors who help people obtain insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

ACCESS, a social service group in Dearborn that focuses on the Arab American community, also helps people obtain insurance under ACA. It will see its federal funding for those activities cut by 36%. 

Executive Director Dizzy Warren says people could have a lot more trouble getting the right kind of insurance now.

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Affordable Care Act health insurance rates may jump in Michigan next year, depending on a decision by the Trump administration.

The Trump administration has threatened to end Cost Sharing Reduction payments.  The federal government offers those subsidies to offset the cost of insurance policies that cover low income residents.  

State insurance officials say Michiganders buying health insurance through the marketplace will see rates rise between 16% and 59% next year.

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President Trump has made no secret of his desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“You know, I said from the beginning: Let Obamacare implode,” Trump said late last week after the Senate failed to repeal the ACA.

But is the president letting Obamacare implode, or is he making it implode?

Trump threatened on Twitter to end the cost-sharing reduction subsidies – money that helps poorer Americans buy health insurance on the ACA exchanges.

President Donald Trump
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The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services announced Tuesday that it won a 30-day extension to publish proposed health insurance rate hikes, citing "uncertainty" over whether insurers will be reimbursed for providing required financial assistance to low-income consumers who purchase insurance through the individual marketplace.

Debbie Dingell in front of a desk.
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Michigan Representative Debbie Dingell, D–Dearborn, says she’s been working with a bipartisan group of House members to come up with ideas for healthcare reform.

“We need to work together to fix [healthcare],” Dingell said. “The Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect. I have been committed and have reaffirmed that this month. I’m working with my colleague Fred Upton and others to find where that common ground is.”

A hospital emergency room entrance.
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Health care providers and patient advocates in Michigan are watching to see what’s in a re-vamped Republican health care overhaul once it’s rolled out in Washington.

RoAnne Chaney is with the Michigan Disability Resource Center. Chaney says she’s very concerned about potential cuts to Medicaid. She says an overhaul could affect whether people with disabilities can remain in their homes.

David Sanchez and his son Benicio, who has Autism Spectrum Disoder.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell spoke to some Michigan parents of children with special needs today about what a future without the Affordable Care Act would be like.

More specifically, Dingell talked about the possibility of those families losing Medicaid if the Senate Republican healthcare bill is passed.

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It may be audacious, given the current climate in Washington, but U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., has introduced a bill to expand Medicare.

Levin says Medicare should cover vision, dental and hearing problems, which affect many seniors. He says many people don't even realize these conditions are not covered for the elderly, who are the most likely to need treatment for them.

Levin says it's important to improve and expand health insurance in the U.S., not limit it.

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Gov. Rick Snyder is concerned about what a Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act will mean for tens of thousands of Michiganders on Medicaid.

Today, U.S. Senate Republicans issued a revised version of their health care bill. The changes include a penalty for people who let their insurance lapse. 

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A group of 13 Republican Senators continues to work in secrecy, writing a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Republicans will see a "discussion draft" of the bill tomorrow.

Their goal? A vote a week from tomorrow, on June 29.

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Senate Republican leaders are sending strong signals they'll try to get a vote by the Fourth of July on a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act.

What might this mean for small businesses? They need to compete for talent with large companies and that typically means offering health insurance.

But small businesses often find that difficult because of cost and other burdens.

The uncertain future of the Affordable Care Act is likely influencing some of the health care rate increases.
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Health insurance costs are going up next year. By a lot. How much depends on the Trump administration and Congress.

Blue Cross plans to raise insurance rates for plans it offers through the Affordable Care Act by an average of about 27% for individuals and close to 14% for Blue Care Network plans. The Detroit News reports another insurer, Priority Health, is proposing a nearly 18% hike for individuals buying through the Affordable Care Act. But, the rate hikes could be even higher.

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The stalled Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act cleared a big hurdle this week. Lawmakers in the U.S. House passed the bill -- thanks in part to a last minute addition from Michigan Congressman Fred Upton. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about Upton's amendment and what the bill could mean for Michigan.

They also discuss a state Court of Appeals ruling that teachers can drop out of their union whenever they like, another attempt by lawmakers to scrap and replace pensions for new teachers, and budget proposals that passed the state House and Senate this week. 

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On Thursday, the U.S. House approved a new health care policy designed by Republicans representatives to replace Obamacare. Each one of Michigan’s Republican representatives voted in favor of the replacement bill, while no Democrats (in Michigan or any other state) gave the bill their support.

Michigan Republicans were likewise united in the condemnation of Obamacare – also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Representative Tim Walberg, for instance, said, “Obamacare is on the brink of collapse and has failed to live up to its many promises.”

Representative John Moolenar called the ACA, “the collapsing health care law.”

Not everyone agrees with those assessments.

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In a close vote of 217 to 213, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a new health care insurance plan this afternoon.

For weeks, Republicans have struggled to gain enough votes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

A sign protesting the House bill that seeks to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Protestors gathered outside U.S. Rep. David Trott's (R-11th district) office in southeast Michigan today.

The group has a simple demand: that Trott  vote against a Republican bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Although Trott was not at his office during the protest, a spokesman allowed protestors to air their grievances, two at a time.  

The American Healthcare Act has a provision that lowers protections for people with preexisting conditions.

sign that says flint
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A major lawsuit over the Flint water crisis has been settled. Under the deal, the state will pay for the replacement of 18,000 lead service lines. This Week in Michigan Politics, Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about why the deal might set a precedent for other cities.

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The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, remains the law of the land for now.

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Republican US House leaders on Friday withdrew their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill from the floor after it was clear the measure would not have enough votes to pass. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether Gov. Rick Snyder and Healthy Michigan advocates can breath a sigh of relief.

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