Obamacare

HealthCare.gov barely worked when it launched last fall, with only six people able to enroll in a plan on opening day.

During the last legislative session, state Sen. Ben Nevers fought hard for the expansion of Medicaid in Louisiana under the Affordable Care Act. But ultimately, a bill to put the issue on the ballot didn’t even make it out of committee. 

But the legislature did pass another bill from Nevers, compelling the state Department of Health and Hospitals to come up with a plan for Louisiana to pilot “America Next” — Gov. Bobby Jindal’s alternative to Obamacare. 

DHH put out their initial report in response a few weeks ago.


The Hope Clinic in southwest Houston is in the very heart of Asia Town, a part of the city where bland strip malls hide culinary treasures — Vietnamese pho, Malaysian noodles, Sichuan rabbit and bubble tea.

Inside the clinic, internist Charu Sawhney sees patients from many countries and circumstances. She's a big believer in the Affordable Care Act since most of her patients have been uninsured. She actively pushed many of them to sign up for the new plans.

One of the most watched issues before the Supreme Court this term may turn on the question of religious freedom. But it will also likely determine how women will be able to access a key provision of the Affordable Care Act – one seeking to guarantee no-cost prescription contraception in most health insurance plans.

"Welcome to Cigna," said the letter, dated May 16, on behalf of my new employer, the Kaiser Family Foundation. The letter also said the insurer was placing me on a one-year waiting period for any pre-existing conditions.

Seriously? Wasn't the health law supposed to end that?

"We have reviewed the evidence of prior creditable coverage provided by you and/or your prior carrier and have determined that you have 0 days of creditable coverage," the letter said.

When the Affordable Care Act was unveiled, business groups railed against the provision that requires companies with 50 or more employees to provide health insurance for their full-time workers.

The Obama administration responded by pushing back the deadline for the coverage, so it hasn't yet taken effect. Now support for this so-called employer mandate is eroding in some surprising quarters.

The Robinson family of Dallas started out pretty excited about their new insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act.

Nick Robinson had turned to Obamacare after he lost his job last summer. He had been working as a youth pastor, and the job included benefits that covered him, his two young daughters, and his wife, Rachel, a wedding photographer.

Nick says he wasn't too nervous at first, because everyone was healthy. Then, he recalls, they found out Rachel was pregnant.

Last year, the Republican playbook for keeping control of the House of Representatives in 2014 and winning the Senate consisted of a fairly simple strategy: Run against Obamacare.

But now that the 2014 races are starting to take shape, that strategy isn't looking quite so simple. Democrats are fighting back. They're focusing on Republican opposition to the health law's expansion of Medicaid as a part of their own campaigns.

Journalist, political commentator and contributor to The Advocate Quinn Hillyer joins Jim for the first half of today's show. Quinn talks about running for political office in the past, President Obama's Affordable Care Act, and what it's like to be now writing for The Advocate. 

Founder and CEO of Pencils of Promise, and recent author of the critically acclaimed book The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change, Adam Braun talks with Jim about his book and the work his non-profit organization is doing to make sure every child has access to quality education. To learn more about Adam's organization, visit www.pencilsofpromise.org.


Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Many republican governors have taken a stand against Obamacare by refusing to expand Medicaid. Utah, which is one of the most republican states in the nation, remains undecided. But in a state where the majority of the population are Mormons, one bishop from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints says helping the poor is a moral obligation. Andrea Smardon from member station KUER in Salt Lake City has more.

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