Affordable Care Act

The Fuller Public Library in Hillsborough hosts book groups, a story hour for preschoolers, and the occasional knitting workshop.

Also on the calendar this month? An hour-long presentation on the Affordable Care Act.

“Tonight, this is probably going to feel like you are drinking from  a fire hose,” says Kelly Clark, State Director for AARP New Hampshire.

She runs through a slide show for a group of about two dozen residents. It touches on all the main points of the law: the exchanges, the mandates, subsidies, and Medicaid.

 

401(K) 2013 via Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire is getting a $3 million federal grant to fight unreasonable increases in health insurance rates and to make pricing more transparent.

The grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is part of the federal Affordable Care Act. The goal is to support state efforts to review health insurance rate increases, educate consumers and hold insurance companies accountable.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

  At an event organized by the New Hampshire Women’s Health Network and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Senator Shaheen praised the law as the single biggest advancement in women’s health in her lifetime.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

New Hampshire Senators expressed frustration with Anthem Blue Cross on Wednesday about the insurance products they plan to sell in the new health marketplaces. 

WUKY

Enrollment begins soon for the on-line health insurance “exchanges” or marketplaces. So far, in this state, only one insurer is taking part…with a product that offers lower cost but a narrower network.  We’ll look at the rollout of this one component of Obamacare.and what it could mean for the Granite State.

GUESTS:

Anthem Blue Cross is providing a snapshot of some of the rates it will charge for insurance plans bought in the new health marketplaces.

Individuals looking to purchase health insurance through the new marketplaces will have only one company to choose from in New Hampshire.

Democratic lawmakers are criticizing a Republican-backed alternative plan to Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire. 

Daniel Sylvester Hurd via Flickr Creative Commons

The Affordable Care Act has gotten its fair share of media coverage since passing in December of 2009, but much of the discussion has focused the behemoth law’s more controversial aspects, like the individual mandate and Medicaid expansion.  One under-discussed provision of the A.C.A. is called “The Sunshine Act.” It's designed to reveal the substantial fees and gifts doctors receive from pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

Joining me to discuss the provision and what it will mean for doctors and companies is healthcare reporter for the Wall Street Journal Peter Loftus, as well as physician and author Danielle Ofri, who writes about medicine and the doctor-patient connection for The New York Times.

Health Insurance Shake Up Continues In N.H.

Sep 9, 2013
Todd Bookman / NHPR

For the second time in less than a week, the health care landscape in New Hampshire is absorbing a major announcement.

Anthem Blue Cross is defending its move to reduce the number of hospitals in its network for individuals buying coverage through the new health exchange marketplaces. 

The state's largest carrier and only company to participate in the exchange is dropping ten New Hampshire hospitals from its provider network for all individual policy holders. That includes plans bought both inside and outside of the new health exchange marketplace that rolls out October 1st. It doesn’t apply to employer-sponsored plans or plans for some Medicare recipients.

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and Bi-State Primary Care Association, a non-profit network of health centers, will receive federal grant money to help consumers sign up for coverage under the new health law.

Federal officials announced Thursday a total of $67 million in grants to more than 105 groups around the country.

Bi-State Primary Care Association will receive $430,000, while Planned Parenthood will get $145,000.

Group Decries Impact Of Federal Healthcare Law

Aug 1, 2013
Ella Nilsen

Conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity rallied against the Affordable Care Act in the front of the State House today, detailing concerns including rising costs and doctor shortages.

The protest comes as a panel examines Medicaid Expansion in N.H., a provision of the federal healthcare law.

Director of Americans for Prosperity – N.H., Greg Moore said the group opposes expansion.

Health Reform on Hold?

Jul 18, 2013
truthout.org via Flickr/Creative Commons

The Obama administration recently announced delays in several provisions of the Affordable Care Act -- including the employer mandate, which requires businesses of a certain size to provide health insurance for employees…as well as smaller technical changes. We’ll talk with experts on where we are now, given this shift, and what might be next.

 Guests:

Some New Hampshire businesses say they welcome news of a recent delay in a key part of the Affordable Care Act. 

On Tuesday, the Obama Administration announced it is postponing the so-called employer mandate by a year, citing a need for more time to simplify regulations. 

It was this provision that Senator Kelly Ayotte, speaking at the Republican National Convention last summer, offered  as a reason why she thinks Obamacare won’t work.

Land Rover Our Planet / Alex E. Proimos / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire is one of only three states with a split legislature: Republicans control the Senate, Democrats the House of Representatives. The two bodies have shown an ability to work together on some issues this session, including business tax credits and limits on lead fishing tackle.

But with the end of the legislative year fast approaching, inter-chamber gamesmanship is on the rise. It can start simple enough. A routine legislative procedure on the House floor.

State lawmakers today put off a key vote on whether to accept Federal funds meant to support a partnership health exchange.

Earlier this month, the Feds awarded the state’s Insurance Department $5.4 million to pay for implementation of the Consumer Assistance portion of the new health exchange marketplace.

But on an 8-2 vote, members of the Joint Fiscal Committee tabled the motion, effectively delaying use of the portion of funds allocated for this fiscal year, roughly $340,000.

A report out today estimates that 96,000 New Hampshire residents will be eligible for health insurance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act. The credits will be available starting in January, 2014, when the individual mandate kicks in.

Although the Supreme Court upheld most of the Affordable Care Act, it said states could choose whether to expand Medicaid. Supporters say doing so helps low income Americans gain coverage and boosts the economy. Critics warn it’s government overreach and is simply unaffordable. We’ll get New Hampshire’s take on this debate.

 Guests

The Granite State gets ready for what are called “health exchanges” under  the Affordable Care Act.  These are new marketplaces where consumers and small businesses can shop for health coverage, advocates say these will encourage competition and lower costs, but there are many unknowns, including who will regulate the insurance companies that participate.

Guests:

Mercy Health, via Flickr

Following President Obama’s reelection and the U.S. Supreme Court’s affirmation of much of the Affordable Care Act, the gears are in motion to implement this law 2014. We’re talking with lawmakers and health care experts about aspects of Medicaid expansion and health exchanges, major parts of the new law now being debated in the Granite State.

Guests:

Alex E. Proimos / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Affordable Care Act says that every state has to select a health plan that will basically serve as a model for other plans.

So, if the model plan covers, say, infertility treatment, eyeglasses or autism services—those same benefits must be included in other plans.

This requirement only applies to the individual and small group markets, where about 200,000 New Hampshire residents shop for insurance.

Deadlines Loom in Health Plan Decision

Sep 12, 2012

A day after the primary elections, lawmakers were back at the statehouse discussing health insurance. At issue is what insurance companies will have to cover under the Affordable Care Act.

The ACA calls for states to select something called a private insurance Essential Health Benefit benchmark by September 30th. Simply put, lawmakers in Concord need to pick an insurance plan that will serve as a model for most other insurance plans offered in the state.

And they have less than three weeks to do it.

istock photo

New Hampshire’s insurance department told House and Senate lawmakers Wednesday what a federal Insurance Exchange will look like in New Hampshire.

N.H. Begins To Wrestle With Medicaid Expansion

Jul 24, 2012
Sara Plourde / NHPR

A group of New Hampshire lawmakers will meet Wednesday to begin discussing how the state should move forward under the nation’s health care law.  One of the big questions for the Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee is whether New Hampshire should expand its Medicaid program.

The recent Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act gives states the option to extend Medicaid to more low-income residents. Under the new law, beginning in 2014, an adult who brings home less than $15,000 a year and a family of four with income under about $30,000 will qualify.

ONE/MILLION / Flickr

The Department of Veteran Affairs expects to spend $57 billion in 2013. A significant part of that budget pays for nursing home care for elderly vets. This month, Washington Monthly magazine is exploring American wealth. Editor John Gravois wrote about the V.A. program that follows the foster care model.

Wednesday, a House vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act has passed 244 to 185.

Both New Hampshire Congressmen voted to repeal the nation’s healthcare law.

Many have called this vote symbolic. Charlie Bass says this new vote was triggered by the Supreme Court decision to uphold the law. But, he says, he considers it a kickoff to congressional races for re-election.

The Supreme Court’s decision on the health care law threw many lawmakers in Washington for a loop.

NH's Health Care Exchange Still Up in the Air

Jun 28, 2012
Bruce A Stockwell / Flickr Creative Commons

Exchanges are the marketplaces where consumers will basically window-shop the various health care policies available in different states.

The Federal government granted each state funds to begin studying and implementing these exchanges, but New Hampshire’s Executive Council gave that money back, nearly $1,000,000.

Republicans, including House Speaker Bill O’Brien, say that the exchanges will simply cost too much to run. He points to the experience of other New England states.

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