Affordable Care Act | KUOW News and Information

Affordable Care Act

President Trump is doing his best to put a good face on defeat in his party's attempt to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

His strategy is simple: declare that the law is failing. And he is selling that message in his own distinctly Trumpian way: concocting it out of simple, bold words and then hammering that message home, over and over: Obamacare, in his words, will "explode."

Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C.
Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/cVEJJh

House Republicans, short of votes, withdrew their health care bill on Friday afternoon, just before it was supposed to go to the floor.

The bill was pulled after President Trump asked Speaker Paul Ryan to halt the debate without a vote, according to The Associated Press. 

KUOW PHOTO/BOND HUBERMAN

The fate of President Trump's health care plan comes down to the wire.

We get into the pros and cons of Seattle's proposed soda tax and homeless levy.

How generous might Washington state get when it comes to paid leave?

And some people are pretty surprised to find out that their car tabs are way more expensive this time around.

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Republican from Clark County in southwestern Washington state, with her husband Dan Beutler and their baby Abigail in 2013. Abigail is the first baby to survive without kidneys.
File photo courtesy of the Beutler family

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Washington state Republican, knows what it’s like to have a sick kid.

Her little Abigail was born in 2013 without kidneys and was able to live because of multi-million dollar, cutting edge treatments — paid for by Medicare and health insurance, according to ABC News.

Bill Radke talks with AtWork! CEO Christina Brandt about how Medicaid cuts could affect people with disabilities. AtWork! is a non-profit organization that helps people with disabilities find jobs.

On Week In Review: Rob McKenna, Joni Balter, Bill Radke (host) and Greg Nickels.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

President Trump proposes deep cuts to federal spending. How would they be felt in Washington state? Seattle landlords sue the city over a law that makes them rent out their homes to the first qualified applicant. And former President Obama likes the University of Washington women's March Madness chances.

Flickr Photo/Alex Proimos (CC BY-NC-2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/bt29wL

Kim Malcolm talks with Kaiser Health News reporter Julie Rovner about how immigrants and refugees may be affected by the American Health Care Act, the House Republicans' replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act.

Kaiser Health News is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said thousands of people’s health coverage would be in jeopardy under the federal government’s Affordable Care Act replacement. In a meeting with the press Thursday, he expressed concern over the proposal, claiming it would cut benefits and increase costs.

"This is the chance. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said the speaker, roving the stage with a wireless mic, gesturing at both the audience in front of him and the PowerPoint presentation behind him.

TED Talk? Late-night infomercial? Nope — it was House Speaker Paul Ryan, making a hard pitch for his health care plan after a week of loud conservative criticism.

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler
Flickr photo/Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner (CC BY-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/K52qFP

Republicans are “moving so fast, with so little oversight” that the Obamacare replacement could have major structural problems, said Mike Kreidler, Washington state's insurance commissioner.

“We could actually see market collapse, certainly in the state of Washington, but I predict that that could even be across the country,” Kreidler said.


It took a lot to get to this point, but Republicans have released their long-awaited health care bill. (For more on the policy, check out the NPR health team's reporting over at Shots.)

The version that was released is likely to change as the bill goes through committees, but now that it's released, here are four potential challenges President Trump and Republicans face:

1. Health care is complicated

After years of waiting, it's finally here.

Mardie Rhodes of Sammamish was one of the people at the rally in Issaquah on Thursday.
KUOW photo/David Hyde

Protesters gathered outside Congressman Dave Reichert's office in Issaquah on Thursday, upset that he hasn’t scheduled face time with the public during the first Congressional recess since Donald Trump was elected president.

KUOW Photo/Kate Walters

Teen birth rates fell by 55 percent in King County between 2008 and 2015, according to officials.

County Executive Dow Constantine credits expanded access to long-lasting birth control and preventive care, as well as greater insurance coverage.

As Republicans look at ways to replace or repair the Affordable Care Act, many suggest that shrinking the list of services that insurers are required to offer in individual and small group plans would reduce costs and increase flexibility.

Everyone expects Congress to change the Affordable Care Act, but no one knows exactly how.

The uncertainty has one group of people, the homeless, especially concerned. Many received health coverage for the first time under Obamacare; now they're worried it will disappear.

Joseph Funn, homeless for almost 20 years, says his body took a beating while he lived on the street.

Now, he sees nurse practitioner Amber Richert fairly regularly at the Health Care for the Homeless clinic in Baltimore.

There's a moment in the Broadway musical Hamilton where George Washington says to an exasperated Alexander Hamilton: "Winning is easy, young man. Governing's harder."

When it comes to health care, it seems that President Trump is learning that same lesson. Trump and Republicans in Congress are struggling with how to keep their double-edged campaign promise — to repeal Obamacare without leaving millions of people without health insurance.

Adams County had the highest use rate of the state exchange at 50 percent.
Courtesy of 1in4WA.com

As Congress looks at changes to the Affordable Care Act, the creators of Washington’s health insurance exchange are advocating for the state’s current system – with maps.

Those maps show where the exchange has had the greatest rate of participation in the state: Trump country.


It's the last day to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

And at Whitman-Walker Health, a community health center near downtown Washington, D.C., people have been streaming in looking for help choosing an insurance plan.

Katie Nicol is a senior manager who oversees the five so-called navigators whose sole job is to help people sign up for insurance coverage.

Community health leaders like Teresita Batayola of ICHS worry about the future of ACA.
Courtesy of ICHS

The deadline to sign up for health coverage is coming up at the end of the month. So far, more Americans have enrolled for health insurance this year than in previous years. At the same time, Congress has taken steps to repeal the Affordable Care Act.


Rep. Jim McDermott represented the Seattle area for 14 terms.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bill Radke talks to former Congressman Jim McDermott about what President Donald Trump can and can't achieve in his first 100 days in office. 

As promised, President Trump has moved to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. It's a concern for those who might be left without health insurance — and especially for the Department of Veterans Affairs, which may have to pick up some of the slack.

Carrie Farmer, a health policy researcher at the Rand Corp., says 3 million vets who are enrolled in the VA usually get their health care elsewhere — from their employer, or maybe from Obamacare exchanges. If those options go away, she has no idea just how many of those 3 million veterans will move over to the VA.

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler
Flickr photo/Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner (CC BY-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/K52qFP

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler estimates one million people in Washington have received health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare.

He told KUOW's Ross Reynolds that without a plan in place from Republicans in Congress, those people could all lose insurance if Obamacare is repealed.


Like any college student, Vanessa Ramirez never expected chemotherapy would be part of her busy school schedule.

"I don't have any history of cancer in my family, so it wasn't something I was on the lookout for," Ramirez says, sitting outside the library of her alma mater, Arizona State University, in Tempe.

Ramirez was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when she was 23. Now, more than a decade later, she's healthy and so are her children.

Amy Knickrehm of Seattle told reporters at a news conference Monday that her chronic pain and depression went undiagnosed for years because she had no health care.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

King County Executive Dow Constantine said he’ll fight to keep affordable health care for people currently covered under Obamacare. 

Constantine held a news conference with Public Health officials, local providers and patients three days after President Donald Trump signed an executive order that begins the processes of rolling back the Affordable Care Act. 


As promised, President Trump got to work on Day One, spending some time in the Oval Office in between the inaugural parade and a trio of formal balls.

Trump signed an executive order Friday night directing government agencies to "ease the burdens" of Obamacare while the new administration and Congress work toward repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus presented Trump with the order, which he described as: "An executive order minimizing the economic burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act pending repeal."

The voters who want Trumpcare

Jan 19, 2017

Bill Radke speaks with Seaview resident Nansen Malin about how health insurance motivated her vote for Donald Trump. Rising costs and falling quality led Malin to support the candidate vowing a repeal and replacement of Obamacare. She thinks that the incoming administration is her only hope for relief. 

President-elect Donald Trump's choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services defended stock transactions he made as a member of Congress as "above board," while vowing he would not pull the rug from under any American with health care as result of replacing the Affordable Care Act.

Rep. Tom Price, a Republican from Georgia, faced the first of two hearings he'll have as the nominee for HHS secretary. Wednesday's was before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. It will not vote on Price's nomination; that's up to the Senate Finance Committee.

Author Daniel Dawes.
Brigitte Martin Mack

The Affordable Care Act will be seven years old this March if President-elect Trump and the Republican Congress haven't repealed it by then. 

The Affordable Care Act brought the rate of uninsured Americans to a record low 9 percent in 2015. It's the major achievement of the controversial health care law and one the Obama administration likes to tout whenever it can.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell did just that in an interview with NPR on Tuesday.

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