August 18, 2014 |
Shirley Tax spends her days at Chinatown Medical Services fielding questions from patients who bought health insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace. Most of those queries revolve around Independence Blue Cross' best-selling, silver-level Keystone HMO Proactive plan. Tax says patients signed up for the tiered plan without really understanding how it worked. So when they receive a bill they take it to Tax and ask her to explain it. "Most of them didn't have insurance before," Tax, 26, says of her clients, many of whom are immigrants.
August 11, 2014 |
Experts thought if people bought health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, they would find a private doctor and stop using hospital emergency rooms for their primary care. Well, more people have health insurance. But they are still crowding into emergency departments across the nation. An online study by the American College of Emergency Room Physicians found that nearly half of its members have seen a rise in visits since Jan. 1 when ACA coverage began. A resounding 86 percent of the physicians said they expect that number to continue growing.
August 4, 2014 |
Seven months after coverage began for people who bought health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, more are now insured and most of the nearly 10 million people who have signed up say they are satisfied with their plans. Yet now a new set of challenges looms. Will the plans be affordable, and will users know how to use tiered networks and other innovations without incurring huge bills? "The law has pretty much met the early benchmarks, but if it stopped here, I don't think anyone would declare it a success," says Larry Levitt, senior vice president for special initiatives at the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is tracking the law. The law offers new insurance options for the individual market.
August 1, 2014
The latest attack on the Affordable Care Act - a federal court ruling that means the law is likely headed for another showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court - threatens to throw up more barriers to high-quality health care for millions of Americans. The decision, questioning the legality of federal insurance subsidies that are helping low-income workers afford coverage, would gut President Obama's landmark health-care reforms. Sure, the ruling is being decried by some legal experts as an "ultimately nonsensical reading" of the law. And the White House plans to seek a broader review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, whose decision was contradicted by another appeals court ruling on the very same day. As a matter of principle, there is no question that a Democratic Congress, acting without a single Republican vote, intended to put health insurance within reach of most of the nation's 45 million to 50 million uninsured.
July 31, 2014
CONTRADICTORY rulings from two federal appellate courts last week have dragged the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act back into legal uncertainty and again put its future in doubt, just as millions of Americans are beginning to realize the law's potential. Muddled language in the health-care law divided the courts. One court focused on a handful of words, the other on the law's broader language and its obvious intent - to provide health insurance to as many Americans as possible.
July 28, 2014 |
It took Sheena Sheard two hours on two buses, towing two children and a three-wheeled stroller, to get to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. It would have been three buses but the trio legged out the final stretch to ensure Sheard could see her lawyer. That's right, her lawyer. Sheard was going to see Eileen Carroll at St. Christopher's to determine whether she qualified for a hardship exemption that would allow her to buy health insurance on the now-closed Affordable Care Act marketplace.
July 21, 2014 |
The e-mail was 138 words of frustration. Alan Brooks' wife Cherylann, a diabetic with high blood pressure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), needed health insurance she couldn't afford. And now a charity clinic, her last lifeline to care, was being forced to close, purportedly because of the Affordable Care Act. For the last four years, Brooks' family has been surviving on his Social Security disability check. While his health care is covered by Medicare, Cherylann has had to rely on the charity clinic doctors at St. Luke's South Side Medical Center in Bethlehem to monitor and treat her conditions.
July 13, 2014 |
His plugged-in friends said he was a fool not to buy health insurance on the federal marketplace. Mark Gaines knew they were right. He was, after all, a 26-year-old law school graduate. But if a judge had asked him for a summation of the Affordable Care Act last fall, it would have been a one-sentence brief. "I didn't know anything about it," said Gaines, who lives in South Philadelphia and was working part-time. "I knew that it was going to make [insurance] open to everyone and make it cheaper.
June 29, 2014 |
Claudia Gordon spent 14 years chasing down bad boys as a Philadelphia policewoman. As a woman officer, Gordon occasionally ran into a perp who was thinking, "Whatcha gonna do?" Bad move, bad boy. "They think women are weak," said Gordon, 59, who retired in 2006. "But we're not as weak as they think. " On the street, there was no intimidating Gordon. But buying health insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace - well, that rattled her. Like so many others who tried to buy health insurance on healthcare.gov last fall, Gordon had to make a couple of attempts to finally get her plan, and only then with the help of a navigator.
June 27, 2014 |
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is getting a makeover. It wants new health ideas to go viral. It wants partners in business and government, to magnify its impact. And it seeks game-changing ideas from inventors to improve doctor visits and reshape medicine into a "culture of health. " The nation's largest health philanthropy has long been focused on discrete health problems such as smoking and obesity. But in a major policy shift publicly discussed Wednesday for the first time, the Princeton-based foundation is seeking to up its game and inspire mass movements.