Obamacare

Starting next week, Americans will again be able to shop for health plans on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. Open enrollment in most states runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Open enrollment for health plans through the Affordable Care Act starts Nov. 1. But, this year, cutbacks in federal money for outreach efforts for potential enrollees could mean fewer people signing up for health insurance in Texas.

That gap in federal outreach means the work of getting people signed up could fall squarely on local advocates like Vitoria Ortega of Foundation Communities.

Central Health
Martin do Nascimento / KUT

The fourth open enrollment period for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace is less than a month away.

This time things will be different, though.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Nora Chovanec showed off the chickens in her backyard last March while talking about a newly proposed Republican health care bill to replace Obamacare.

The 29-year-old was on a health care plan through the online marketplace created by Obamacare. It allows people who don’t get insurance through an employer to buy a plan on their own.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Republicans in Congress are pushing yet another plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and Texas, at first glance, looks like one of the big beneficiaries in the short term.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON — A Texas GOP congressman says if the three female Republican senators who oppose a bill repealing Obamacare were men from South Texas, he might challenge them to a duel. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

For Carol Elliott, a Port Aransas resident in her early 60s, the Affordable Care Act is not a failure.

“The Affordable Care Act saved my life,” the musician says.

Elliott lived in Nashville for a long time, but has spent the last 15 years living in the island town in the Gulf of Mexico off the Texas shore.

She says money has always been tight, and she’s had to cut corners through the years. That’s often meant she’s been priced out of health insurance.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

In a matter of weeks, the U.S. Senate could be voting on a Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. On Wednesday, 25 health care advocacy groups in Texas sent a letter to Republican Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz raising concerns about the plan.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

More than 1.2 million Texans are signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace. That’s the part of Obamacare that allows companies to sell plans directly to individuals. Under the GOP replacement bill working its way through Congress, there could be big changes to how the government helps these individuals pay for their plans.


A new report finds that the Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion over a decade but would also leave 24 million more Americans uninsured during that same period.

Pictures of Money /Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The greatly anticipated Republican legislation to alter the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 health care law better known as Obamacare, has finally been revealed.

 

After years of waiting, it's finally here.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The federal health insurance marketplace has been a big help to startups in Austin in the past few years. It's giving tech workers the ability to buy health insurance when their fledgling employers are too small to provide benefits.

KUT

Around the country, Republican congressmen are facing angry crowds at town hall meetings – mostly from people defending the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

With talk of Republicans in Congress repealing the health care law in the coming months, this could be the last time the health insurance marketplace, created under the Affordable Care Act, can offer Texans insurance.

From Texas Standard:

House Speaker Paul Ryan has said repealing the Affordable Care Act – or Obamacare – is a day-one priority for President Donald Trump and Republicans have already taken the first step towards repealing it.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT News

The enrollment period for the federal health insurance exchange ends Jan. 31. For many Texans who don’t get their insurance through an employer, this has been an affordable way to get a policy in the state for the past few years.

But if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, this could be the last year it’s an option.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Federal lawmakers have set their sights on repealing the Affordable Care Act as quickly as possible. According to a new study, if they succeed, Texas could lose thousands of jobs in the coming years, but it could be more than just health care jobs.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Capitol Hill is quiet this time of year. Congress is out of session. All the senators and representatives have scattered to their respective districts, except the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee. The committee’s leader, U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady from Texas (R-Woodlands), called lawmakers back to Washington to map out the imminent repeal of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

Rep. Tom Price, a Georgia Republican, is President-elect Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services. He is currently chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee.

Price, an orthopedic surgeon for nearly 20 years before coming to Congress, has represented the northern Atlanta suburbs in the House of Representatives since 2005.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The fourth open enrollment period for the federal health insurance program is in full swing. People who can’t get insurance through an employer, Medicaid or Medicare can now buy private insurance through the Affordable Care Act until Jan. 31.

But there’s some uncertainty about the program’s future this time around.

Callie Richmond/Texas Tribune

Texas' rate of uninsured people fell to 17.1 percent in 2015 as part of a steady decline in the share of uninsured residents following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to new Census estimates released Tuesday.

The state's rate of uninsured fell two percentage points from 2014 to 2015, but Texas still has the highest percentage of people without health insurance in the country. Texas is also home to the largest number of uninsured people in the country with about 4.6 million uninsured residents. 

Saying they now have new information that significantly changes the case before them, the Supreme Court justices sidestepped a constitutional decision on the latest Obamacare challenge and sent the government and the religious organizations back to the drawing board.

In a unanimous decision, the court said it was not deciding the central question in the case: whether Obamacare's contraceptive mandate substantially burdens some organizations' right to exercise their religion.

From the healthcare.gov enrollment site

Sunday is the last day to buy health insurance for 2016 on the federal health insurance exchange.

Austin’s freelancers, contractors and musicians are among those taking the most advantage of the program.


Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

An Austin-based nonprofit that helps people sign up for health insurance is teaming up with another group that helps musicians access low-cost medical care. Foundation Communities will work with the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, or HAAM, to get more Austin musicians insured during the upcoming enrollment period for plans on the federal marketplace.


KUT News

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled to uphold the health insurance tax subsides in the case of King v. Burwell.

After much anticipation, the High Court ruled 6-3 this morning that people who received tax subsidies for health insurance premiums purchased on the federal exchange can keep them.

At issue in the case was whether four words in a section of the Affordable Care Act that deals with tax subsidies — "established by the state" — meant that only people who bought an Obamacare plan on a marketplace established by a state government can get a tax subsidy to help them pay for it. 

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT News

In Austin, the music industry generates almost $2 billion a year for the local economy, but some musicians say they’re lucky if they leave a gig with $5 in their pocket.

Fewer people are willing to pay cover charges to watch live music, but rent keeps rising in Austin.

As a result, a lot of musicians forego health insurance, and now some are worrying about how Austin will keep musicians here if they can’t afford basic expenses.

Texas Has No Answers To What's Next After Obamacare Ruling

Jun 18, 2015
Charlotte Carpenter for KUT News

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule, possibly today, on a case that will decide whether tax subsidies for health insurance plans bought on the federal marketplace are legal.

If the court strikes down the subsidies, however, the matter of who decides what happens next in Texas remains murky. 

Photo courtesy wallyg, flickr.com/70323761@N00

Before the end of the month, possibly as soon as today, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on a case called King v. Burwell. The decision could affect the price of health insurance for roughly 1 million people in Texas.

It's a decision that comes down to four words.

How Obamacare's Doing in Texas, by the Numbers

Jun 10, 2015
Jeff Heimsath/KUT News

On Tuesday, the White House released numbers illustrating the effect of the Affordable Care Act here in Texas — numbers that came out on the same day that President Obama delivered a speech in which he described his signature health care law as a success.

President Obama spoke Tuesday at the Catholic Hospital Association conference in Washington, D.C. He told the audience the Affordable Care Act has turned out better than even its supporters expected.

"Nearly one in three Americans have already been covered," he said, receiving applause. "More than 16 million people driving our uninsured rate to its lowest level, ever. Ever."

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