Affordable Care Act | KERA News

Affordable Care Act

About 1 million Texans have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act since enrollment efforts began in 2013. That might sound like a lot, but Texas still has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country.

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The Supreme Court has upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans.

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday handed the Obama administration a major victory on health care, ruling 6-3 that nationwide subsidies called for in the Affordable Care Act are legal.

"Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them," the court's majority said in the opinion, which was written by Chief Justice John Roberts. But they acknowledged that "petitioners' arguments about the plain meaning ... are strong."

About 1.2 Million Texans Signed Up Through Health Exchange

Feb 18, 2015
Lauren Silverman / KERA News

FORT WORTH-- Nearly 1.2 million Texans have signed up or were re-enrolled for health insurance through the federal marketplace by a February 15 deadline.

Templar1307 (cc) / Flickr

Five stories that have North Texas talking: The national spotlight will be on Stephenville for the murder trial of retired Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, RadioShack inches closer to a bankruptcy deal, health insurance enrollment has been strong in Texas, and more.

UT Southwestern Medical Center

The new $1.3 billion Parkland hospital is just the tip of the iceberg. Hospital construction has reached unprecedented levels in North Texas.

The Dallas medical district now has a skyline of its own.

The new Parkland Memorial Hospital and UT Southwestern’s William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital are the latest projects in a health care building boom that’s not projected to slow down any time soon.

There’s a new box to check on income taxes for 2014. Showing proof of health insurance for most folks will be easy as checking a box, but for others there are extra forms to fill out. Susan Hoff, with United Way in Dallas, helps sort through new tax time rituals.

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The deadline to sign up for health insurance for the New Year through healthcare.govis Monday, Dec. 15th.

A warning: Research shows consumers often choose a plan that’s not the best deal. We’ve got some tips for shopping health care.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

A year after the launch of the Affordable Care Act, more than half a million Dallas County residents still lack health insurance. Dallas officials joined the Health and Human Services Secretary urging people to sign up.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Despite a very rocky start to open enrollment last year, more than 733,000 Texans bought insurance through the federal marketplace.

Still, Texas remains the state with the highest percent of uninsured people in the country. Will open enrollment this year change that? 

Feds Have New Leverage In Medicaid Showdown

Nov 11, 2014
Marjorie Cotera / The Texas Tribune

If Texas wants to keep receiving billions of federal dollars to help hospitals care for uninsured patients, state lawmakers may have to look again at expanding Medicaid coverage for impoverished adults, some political observers say.

People shopping for health insurance on the federal marketplace in Texas will have more options when the enrollment period begins again later this year.

Sixteen companies will offer health insurance plans in Texas through the federal marketplace this time around, when open enrollment begins Nov. 15for coverage starting in 2015. At the Brookings Institution on Tuesday, U.S. Health and Human Services Department Secretary Sylvia Burwell spoke about changes in the marketplace under the Affordable Care Act.

A new study from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy and the Episcopal Health Foundation finds the cost of health insurance on the new federal marketplace varies widely in Texas.

Researchers found almost half of Texans eligible for a tax subsidy for health insurance said plans were still too expensive. The Episcopal Health Foundation’s president, Elena Marks, says she and her colleagues went back to see what was unaffordable to many people.

Mark Graham/Cooper Neil / The Texas Tribune

The candidates for governor are back on the campaign trail after mixing it up in their first debate Friday night. On Saturday Democrat Wendy Davis sat for an hour-long interview in Austin. Republican Greg Abbott stayed in the Rio Grande Valley, hoping to attract Latino votes.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Two key state lawmakers from opposing parties say they haven’t given up on creating a plan that would allow Texas to collect billions of federal Medicaid dollars tied to the Affordable Care Act.

The Supreme Court has ruled that family owned and other closely held companies can opt out of the Affordable Care Act's provisions for no-cost prescription contraception in most health insurance if they have religious objections.

The owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores and those of another closely held company, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., had objected on the grounds of religious freedom.

The ruling affirms a Hobby Lobby victory in a lower court and gives new standing to similar claims by other companies.

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In today's All Things Considered local block from the KERA newsroom: How did Texas stack up in federal healthcare signups? Lauren Silverman breaks down those numbers, and also looks at an innovative approach Parkland Hospital is taking to keep hospital re-admissions down. And on this edition of The Big Screen, Stephen Becker and Dallas Morning News movie critic Chris Vognar talk about the lasting influence of the original rom-com, It Happened One Night.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Americans procrastinated enrolling in health care — and Texans are no exception. With just a month left to sign up, more people enrolled after March 1 than in the first five months of open enrollment. The total number of Texans to sign up through the federal marketplace is 733,757.

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The Obama administration says about eight million people have signed up for the Affordable Care Act through online exchanges – not counting those who bought plans “off-exchange” through insurance carriers. That’s a lot of people who will need to choose a primary care physician.

Lyndsay Knecht / KERA News

Update, 6 p.m. Monday: KERA's Lauren Silverman has the latest on the looming healthcare deadline:

Interest in the federal health insurance marketplace might have started slowly, but things were racing Monday. The deadline to sign up for 2014 insurance at healthcare.gov is 11:59 p.m.

“We have quite a few people here today,” said Bob Reed, vice president of patient access at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. “Too busy to bean count. … We’ve just been trying to survive a little bit.”

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

The deadline to get insured this year under the Affordable Care Act is the last day of March. The main challenge for advocates is getting young people and minorities to buy in. But an effort is underway to encourage them. 

Workplace wellness is already a six-billion-dollar-a-year industry, and it’s growing. Employers are searching for programs that are both good for the beltline and the bottom line. The result? They’re gamifying corporate wellness programs.

Dane Walters / KERA News

When you don’t have a decent savings account or wiggle room in your budget, sometimes all it takes is an expense you haven’t planned for to push you over the financial edge. That’s reality for one in three North Texans, and that’s what just happened to Natalie Berquist.

The single mom living in Lewisville is one of the people we’re following in our series One Crisis Away. Natalie has a steady job, but because of a new monthly bill, she’s giving up her apartment.

Nearly A Quarter Of Health Marketplace Enrollees Are Young Adults

Jan 13, 2014

Nearly a quarter of the 2.2 million people who’ve enrolled in health coverage in the health law’s insurance marketplaces are young adults — the population that’s hardest to reach and yet most vital for the long-term financial stability of the new exchanges, the Obama administration announced Monday.

U.S. Senate

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has once again criticized the Affordable Care Act, this time at a conservative conference.

“Obamacare has single-handedly been an illustration in lawlessness at a breath-taking scale,” Cruz said Friday in Austin at the Texas Public Policy Foundation policy orientation.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

How did Obamacare affect North Texans in 2013? It depends on whom you ask.

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Under Obamacare, nearly every American has to have health insurance or pay a penalty. One of the few exceptions is for people who are members of what’s called “health care sharing ministries.” The two largest sharing ministries – Samaritan and Medi-Share – have both nearly doubled their membership in Texas since the Affordable Care Act.

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Texas cities are ramping up efforts to get people enrolled in President Barack Obama's health care exchange as they face a deadline for insurance coverage to begin Jan. 1.

People who want their plans to begin Jan. 1 have to enroll by Monday. Open enrollment continues through March 31.

Texas has the highest rate of uninsured in the country.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

In the first two months of Obamacare, 14,000 Texans purchased insurance. One of them was Misty Parker. This so-called “young invincible” has a premium of $38 a month.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

“Who are the navigators?” That’s the title of a House Oversight Committee hearing in Dallas Monday looking at the people who help Texans sign up for health insurance through the federal exchange.

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