Affordable Care Act

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President Trump is now backing a lawsuit that would invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act, and that's promising to make health care a major election issue next year. Wyoming Republicans are fine with that, even though they have failed to repeal and replace when they controlled both chambers of Congress.

In the 2018 midterms voters in the deeply conservative states of Idaho and Utah went against their Republican controlled legislatures on healthcare. They both voted yes on initiatives to expand Medicaid under Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

But it didn’t end there. Republicans in both Capitols pushed back.


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The Wyoming Senate has cut all the funding for the state's breast and cervical cancer program. The cut came during a debate over the state budget. Sheridan Senator Dave Kinskey added that the program is not just for poor people, so people without insurance can access those funds.

Bob Beck

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead is wrapping up his time in office. Bob Beck caught up with him at an event in Cheyenne this week. They discuss the difficulties Mead had in cutting the budget and why Wyoming's economic future looks so positive. Mead also talks about his biggest disappointment, which is not making a difference when it comes to providing affordable and accessible health care.

The number of uninsured children across the country has increased for the first time in more than a decade.


Wyoming legislature

A Wyoming Legislative Committee is moving forward with a plan to hire consultants to perform a comprehensive study of the costs associated with Hospital Care.  

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A plan to try to reduce health insurance premiums on the federal health care exchange was approved by a Wyoming legislative committee. 

healthcare.gov

The Wyoming legislature has a long history of exploring ways to get quality and affordable insurance to more citizens, but for a variety of reasons, nothing has really ever worked. The legislature has long opposed accepting federal dollars to expand Medicaid due to fears that the money would eventually dry up and the state would have a program it could no longer afford. But there is not an available state solution either.

Thursday, November 1 is the first day of the six-week open enrollment for health insurance plans on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. States in the Mountain West are seeing minor rate hikes — if any — this year.

barrasso.senate.gov

Wyoming Senator John Barrasso has been a leading player in his party’s years-long effort to repeal and replace so-called Obamacare, but the GOP has failed to deliver.

Bob Beck

It’s Open Enrollment time for health insurance and for those choosing their insurance on the federal marketplace there is interesting news for Wyoming residents. Subsidy payments for those in the marketplace have increased and so in many cases, people can get more affordable and possibly better coverage.

Matt Laslo

Wyoming’s senators are supporting a massive bill to overhaul the nation’s health care system next week.

The new GOP health bill eliminates the mandate that every American must have health insurance and it ends the Obamacare subsidies that help many Wyomingites afford insurance. The new proposal does maintain some taxes under the Affordable Care Act but then sends that money back to the states as a block grant, which Wyoming Senator John Barrasso likes. 

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming is proposing to raise health insurance rates by 48 percent in the coming year. That would mainly impact the 28,000 Wyomingites who get their coverage via the Federal Health Insurance Exchange.  

Those off the exchange and who get group insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield could also see a substantial increase. Spokeswoman Wendy Curran explained that Blue Cross Blue Shield is nervous about proposed changes in the current health care law. She said they are particularly concerned about threats to remove cost shared reduction subsidies.

Bob Beck

As the Senate health insurance reform effort remains on life support, Wyoming’s two senators are pushing their Republican colleagues to get on board with the effort.

Senator John Barrasso literally burned the midnight oil on Wednesday when he invited a large group of Republican senators into his office for last minute negotiations on their party’s health insurance reform plan. Barrasso emerged late and was the last to address the thirty or so reporters who huddled outside for hours.  

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Wyoming’s two U.S. Senators have been at the center of their party’s effort to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system, and they’re still optimistic they can pass a bill when they return to Washington after their July Fourth recess. Some have been critical of their work, mostly because Republicans have been negotiating their health insurance bill behind closed doors after holding no hearings on it this year. 

More healthcare providers around Wyoming are expressing worry over the Senate’s healthcare bill released last week.

The Downtown Clinic in Laramie provides primary care and emergency dental services to people without any healthcare coverage.

Pete Gosar, the clinic’s executive director, said the bill may make it more difficult to provide coverage there. The clinic recently had to extend its operating hours, staying open two days a week instead of one, to accommodate all 700 patients.

Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney helped her party pass a historic bill to unwind Obamacare, but its chances of passage in the Senate remain far from certain.

After House Republicans passed their bill to overturn Obamacare they walked out of the Capitol and were greeted with a few hundred protestors who were chanting shame.

But Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney was undeterred.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Wyoming U.S. Representative Liz Cheney was among those who voted to support the Republican overhaul of the Affordable Care Act. Cheney says the passage of the American Health Care Act by the House of Representatives will help Wyomingites purchase affordable care.  

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Despite some recent setbacks, Congress will eventually move to either replace or make serious changes to the affordable care act. Wyoming’s congressional delegation says that should help reduce insurance premiums in the state, but that may not be the case. Wyoming saw a growth in those who have insurance under the affordable care act and current congressional fixes could do more harm than good. 

Bob Beck

The Republican Party hates so-called Obamacare, but when it comes to replacing the bill the party is divided over how to change the health care system.

You’ve heard about the angry protests at Republican town halls across the nation, but you may not know there’s also a heated debate happening inside closed door Republican meetings on Capitol Hill. The thirty or so member House Freedom Caucus voted as a block to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act before the party even has a replacement in hand.

Senator Mike Enzi (R)

Wyoming's two senators are set to play a key role in the Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. Senate Republicans, led by Senator Mike Enzi took their first steps towards repealing the Affordable Care Act in a late night session.

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As the January 31 deadline approaches to sign up for health insurance under the government’s health care marketplace, Senate Republicans are beginning plans to repeal the law that created that program.

It’s still unclear how lawmakers will replace the Affordable Care Act if it is repealed, and experts around the country are unsure what a reformed health care system should look like.

healthcare.gov

On November 1, people will be able to sign up for this year’s round of health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Wyoming’s rates are expected to increase by roughly seven percent, and while the increase will be less than some other states, Wyoming’s insurance prices are typically among the highest in the country.

Following the adoption of the Affordable Care Act, Wyoming’s Northern Arapahoe tribal members signed up in high numbers for fully subsidized health insurance, many of whom had never received any before.

Now, a federal judge in Casper says it’s not the responsibility of the federal government to pay for tribal health care. It’s the responsibly of the tribe. U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl ruled against the tribe in its lawsuit with the IRS, arguing that under the ACA the Northern Arapaho tribe qualifies as a large employer.

Wyoming's Governor and Congressional delegation have been fighting to dismantle the Affordable Care Act for years.

But with Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling ruling “Obamacare” looks stronger than ever.

Wyoming Minority Floor Leader Mary Throne of Cheyenne says that might force state legislators to finally start talking about how they could work with federal healthcare policy.

Wyoming’s decision to not set up a set health care marketplace could haunt it if the United States Supreme Court rules that federal marketplaces or exchanges cannot receive federal subsidies. The King vs. Burwell case could impact close to 20 thousand Wyoming residents, especially the 17 thousand who would lose subsidies to purchase insurance. 

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

A U.S. Supreme Court decision this summer could affect health coverage for nearly 21,000 Wyoming residents. The court will decide if subsidies can be provided to low-income individuals in states that don’t have their own health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

Wyoming is one of more than 30 states without its own insurance marketplace.

Of the 21,000 citizens enrolled in a health care plan under the federal government run marketplace, 91% receive the premium tax credit, which on average pays for more than 70% of their monthly premiums.

The number of people in Wyoming who have purchased health insurance through the federal health insurance marketplace has nearly doubled since last year. More than 21,000 consumers signed up for plans in 2015 as part of the Affordable Care Act. Last year, nearly 12,000 people signed up for a plan.

Monica Jennings is a Marketplace Navigator with Enroll Wyoming. She says despite many Wyomingites enrolling, there are still many in the state without health coverage who would have benefited from Medicaid expansion.

One of the biggest Supreme Court cases of this term could wipe away the insurance subsidies that tens of thousands of Wyoming residents now rely on under so-called Obamacare. Matt Laslo has the story from Washington on how Wyoming Senator John Barrasso is now scrambling to find a Plan B for a law he's staked his name as a doctor opposing.  

The Northern Arapaho tribe recently lost a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service. The tribe sued the IRS because it classified the Northern Arapaho as a large employer, requiring them to pay for employee health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The tribe argued that a long-standing treaty requires the federal government to pay for Native American health care, and that the federally-run Indian Health Services isn’t doing good enough to fulfill that agreement.

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