health care | KUOW News and Information

health care

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau present the most detailed picture yet of the dramatic rise in the number of people covered by health insurance since the Affordable Care Act went into effect.

County-level data going back to 2010, when the law was signed, show a patchwork of people living without health insurance that ticked down slowly for the first three years under the ACA. But once the online insurance exchanges opened at the end of 2013 and Medicaid expanded, the population living without coverage dropped noticeably.

Repeal and replace is on-again, off-again, but that doesn't mean the rules affecting your insurance will stay the same in the meantime.

The Trump administration late Thursday issued a final rule aimed at stabilizing the existing health law's insurance marketplace that could have rapid, dramatic effects — perhaps as soon as early summer — on people who do not get insurance through work, and buy it on the Affordable Care Act's exchanges instead.

The Affordable Care Act's worst enemies are now in charge of the vast range of health coverage the law created. They're also discussing changes that could affect a wider net of employment-based policies and Medicare coverage for seniors.

Although Republicans failed last month in their first attempt to repeal and replace the ACA, President Donald Trump vows the effort will continue. And even if Congress does nothing, Trump has suggested he might sit by and "let Obamacare explode."

Last year only 67 percent of toddlers in Washington state were fully vaccinated by age 3.
Flickr Photo/Gates Foundation (CC BY-NC-ND)

Washington state is in the midst of a mumps outbreak. There have been nearly 700 cases reported since October.

The last time the state saw numbers like this was the mid '70s. Flares were in style and America was still ensconced in the Cold War.

Dental assistant Kim Weston updates a chart at the Odessa Brown Children's Clinic in Seattle. Weston has worked at the clinic for more than a decade.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

Last week while lawmakers in Washington, D.C., were gnashing their teeth over what health insurance in the U.S. should look like, patients and providers in King County were wrestling with some of the same challenges they faced before the Affordable Care Act was in place.

Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Flickr Photo/camknows (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Bill Radke talks to Anne Newcombe, the clinical director of emergency services at Harborview Medical Center, about what the hospital has seen since the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, was implemented.   

Christine Mathews says she couldn't afford health insurance without the ACA subsidies.
Amy Radil

Supporters of Obamacare woke up Friday morning thinking they still needed to defend the law from Republican efforts to replace it.

As the political drama played out in the other Washington, a handful of advocates held signs outside Congresswoman Suzan DelBene’s district office in Bothell. They said they came to thank DelBene, a Democrat, for opposing the GOP legislation.

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. 

Throughout the campaign, President Trump billed himself as a master negotiator who would make the "best deals" for the American people.

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.

Updated at 9:48 p.m. ET

The White House issued an ultimatum to House Republicans on Thursday: Vote for the current GOP health care replacement plan or leave the Affordable Care Act in place and suffer the political consequences.

The Affordable Care Act's tax penalty for people who opt out of health insurance is one of the most loathed parts of the law, so it is no surprise that Republicans are keen to abolish it. But the penalty, also called the individual mandate, plays a vital function: nudging healthy people into the insurance markets, where their premiums help pay for the cost of care for the sick. Republican lawmakers think they have a better alternative.

surgery
Flickr Photo/Army Medicine

Information was released this week about how the Republican health plan would affect people in Washington. UW associate law professor Sallie Sanford spoke with Kim Malcolm about who loses the most.

Bill Radke speaks with Aaron Katz about the most dire predictions for how the Republican health care proposal will affect Washingtonians. Katz is a lecturer in health services at the University of Washington.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is calling the Republican healthcare plan in Congress “a disaster.” Inslee made his comments Wednesday as new projections on the impact to the state were released.

Pages