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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Affordable Care Act: What it means for you

How will the Affordable Care Act affect you? Most Americans will be affected in some way, but the answer depends on where they live and how they get – or don’t get – health coverage now. The state in which people live is a factor because some states, such as Washington, have worked for years to implement the law and have taken advantage of federal funding to expand Medicaid. But other states, such as Idaho, fought the law, delayed their implementation work and refused to accept federal Medicaid expansion dollars. In states such as Florida and Georgia, elected officials not only have fought the federal law, they’ve said they intend to make it difficult for their uninsured residents to sign up for health care coverage.

Overhaul confuses Medicare beneficiaries

Dear seniors, your Medicare benefits aren’t changing under the Affordable Care Act. That’s the message federal health officials are trying to get out to elderly consumers confused by overlapping enrollment periods for Medicare and so-called “Obamacare.” Medicare beneficiaries don’t have to do anything differently and will continue to go to Medicare.gov to sign up for plans. But advocates say many have been confused by a massive media blitz directing consumers to online insurance exchanges set up as part of the federal health law. Many of the same insurance companies are offering coverage for Medicare and the exchanges.

Center answers calls for help

At 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 3, the switchboard turned on and the phones began to ring. Callers from all over Washington wanted to know how to qualify for health insurance coverage. They dialed the right place.

States experiment in effort to lower health care costs

SALEM, Ore. – As states work on implementing complex federal health care reforms, some have begun tackling an issue that has vexed employers, individuals and governments at all levels for years: the rapidly rising costs of health care. The success of models that are beginning to emerge across the country ultimately will determine whether President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act can make good on its name. It’s too early to tell what will work and what won’t, but states, insurers and medical groups are experimenting with a variety of programs to contain costs without undermining care. These test runs come as millions of new patients will gain eligibility for health insurance under the federal law, putting additional pressure on the system.

State tries to simplify Medicaid

In political circles, “Medicaid expansion” has been a phrase that launches arguments. But for uninsured poor people – 22,000 in Spokane County and 328,000 throughout Washington state – expansion means health care coverage is on the way. Washington is one of 25 states to accept the federal government’s offer to fund the expansion of Medicaid, the health care program for America’s poor.

Five things to know about health care overhaul

Still a little hazy about the health care overhaul? You have plenty of company. About half the people surveyed this spring by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation felt they didn't have enough information to understand how the law will affect their family. Among those with an annual household income of less than $30,000, some 30 percent thought the law had been repealed by Congress or the Supreme Court.

House votes to defund Affordable Care Act in budget

WASHINGTON – Republicans rallied around a budget plan Saturday to keep the government open but delay the new health care law for a year, storming toward a showdown with Democrats that looked increasingly likely to shut down the government when the current fiscal year ends Monday night. The Republican-controlled House, in a rapid-fire series of votes that stretched past midnight, voted 248 to 174 to permanently repeal a 2.3 percent medical device tax that helps fund the health care law, then voted 231 to 192 to delay the law for a year. The House was also expected to approve a measure to assure military personnel will be paid if the government shuts down.

US wants Supreme Court to take up Hobby Lobby case

OKLAHOMA CITY — The federal government is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether Hobby Lobby and a Christian bookstore chain have to provide a wide range of birth control options for workers as part of the federal health care law.

Democrats embrace GOP term Obamacare

WASHINGTON – At least one part of the nation’s health care debate is settled: Now they’re all calling it Obamacare. Since President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has lifted an unofficial ban on using the opposition’s term for his health care law, Democratic activists have been chanting “We love Obamacare” in front of the Supreme Court.

Strategy in place for Supreme defeat

WASHINGTON – Even before the Supreme Court heard arguments about the constitutionality of the federal health care law, President Barack Obama’s campaign had begun targeting key voter groups that might be most affected by a loss. If the justices rule against the law – an outcome that many think they strongly signaled during arguments Tuesday and Wednesday – the way those slices of the electorate respond could go a long way toward determining the political impact.