Obamacare

West Virginia's Republican U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito has voted to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act in legislation defeated in a 51-49 floor vote early Friday.

Sam Owens / Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP

Here’s what happens 97 percent of the time in federal court: a plea deal. The defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser offense, and the prosecution gets a guaranteed conviction.

But earlier this month, Judge Joseph Goodwin rejected a plea deal for a drug dealer, saying the defendant should face the “bright light” of a jury trial. He said this is especially important in West Virginia, which has the highest drug overdose rate in the country.

"I did not come to Washington to hurt people."

That is how Sen. Shelley Moore Capito announced, on Twitter, she would not support the GOP effort to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses her concerns "and the needs of West Virginians."

Capito was one of a handful of GOP Senators who dealt the Obamacare repeal a serious blow this week.

Is "Trumpcare" dead? And if so, what does that mean for heathcare in West Virginia, and for Capito's political future. Listen to the Front Porch podcast to find out.

Health Coverage FAQ
NPR

This week, Republicans in Congress will try to rally votes behind a bill that proposes major changes to the way Americans get health care and how much they pay. In West Virginia, many thousands could be affected. Use this Q&A to explore how the bill would affect you.

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HHS Sec. Tom Price speaking at a press conference at the state Capitol.
Ashton Marra / WVPB

All three West Virginia Congressmen voted for the American Health Care Act – the bill to repeal Obamacare.

Critics say it would hurt low-income and older people, both of which are found in abundance in West Virginia. Supporters say Obamacare has failed to offer affordable health care options to many. We debate who’s right.

Also, should pets be allowed in the workplace? And if so, under what conditions?

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On Monday night, members of the U.S. House of Representatives released their bill to replace the Affordable Care Act. Possibly the biggest deal for West Virginia is that the new bill proposes changing the way that Medicaid is funded.

 

 

Medicaid is the joint state-federal insurance program that covers more than a third of West Virginians. Right now, the federal government matches state spending for Medicaid dollar for dollar. But under the proposed bill, that funding would change to a per-capita cap.  

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More than 22,000 West Virginians with substance use disorders have gained health coverage through Medicaid Expansion, according to a report released earlier this month in National Health Law Program. Medicaid Expansion was a voluntary provision of the Affordable Care Act.

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Although Congress hasn't presented the American public with a clear replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act – the ideas proposed so far are unlikely to make coverage more affordable or allow everyone who has coverage now to keep it. Uncertainty surrounding the ACA is also making it difficult for health plans to stay in the marketplace because they don’t know how to price their plans for next year.

But as members of Congress left Washington today for their February recess, Republicans made it clear they still intend to repeal the ACA.

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Today is the last day to enroll in or change a 2017 insurance plan through the federal healthcare marketplace. But if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, this may be the last time people can sign up for insurance through the marketplace.

In 2016, more than 37,000 West Virginians signed up for health insurance through the ACA marketplaces. Nationwide, enrollment numbers for 2017 are up slightly from 2016 numbers – despite promises from President Trump to repeal the healthcare law.

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

President Trump is four days into his first term and already has made big moves to repeal former President Obama’s signature healthcare law. A repeal of the Affordable Care Act – also called Obamacare - has the potential to affect millions of Americans. In this audio postcard, three West Virginians – a former chair of the House health committee, a college student and a small business owner – talk about how they are feeling about their healthcare coming into an era of Trump.

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

At the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Clinic in Scarbro, oxygen tubes dangle from the noses of three miners slowly pedaling on stationary bikes.  All of these men have black lung – a disease caused by breathing in coal dust. Over time, the dust coats the lungs and causes them to harden. Hard lungs don’t easily expand and contract, and that makes it difficult to breath.

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Latest enrollment figures show that 32,855 West Virginians signed up for 2017 coverage under the Affordable Care Act as of Dec. 24, 2016. 

Steve Helber / Associated Press

During his campaign, president-elect Donald Trump promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act – a move many West Virginians say they support after facing rising premiums and deductibles.  But a repeal without a replacement plan could be disastrous for the millions of Americans who have gained health insurance under the law, including 173,000 West Virginians newly covered under Medicaid expansion and 37,000 who have bought private insurance plans through the Marketplace. And Republicans have yet to release a replacement plan.

 

 

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President Obama met with Senate Democrats today to discuss strategies to save his signature health care law. Meanwhile Senate Republicans have already introduced a budget resolution that would unravel large pieces of the Affordable Care Act with a majority vote.

Charlie Neibergall / AP Photo

Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell visited Charleston today to voice support for the Affordable Care Act.

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Federal health Secretary Sylvia Burwell plans to join a discussion in her native West Virginia on the federal health law that expanded insurance coverage to 165,000 residents.

The Affordable Care Act is a signature Obama administration initiative that president-elect Donald Trump has vowed to at least partly roll back.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The MBA program at Shepherd University hosted a panel discussion in Martinsburg Wednesday night that drew in a large crowd. The topic – the Affordable Care Act. The goal of the discussion was to look at the good, the bad, and the unknown and discuss how it directly affects West Virginians.

Dozens of people attended the event at the historic McFarland House in Martinsburg. Like most controversial pieces of legislation, the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, has received plenty of attention since it was first enacted in 2010 – good and bad.

  Almost 20,000 West Virginians have enrolled in health coverage through the federal marketplace.

As of March 31, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said only 6 percent of West Virginia's federal exchange signups were between 18 to 25 years old, tied with Minnesota for the lowest percentage in the country. At 13 percent of exchange signups, West Virginia is also tied with Arizona and Vermont for lowest percentage of 26 to 34 year olds enrolled.

Of about 19,860 West Virginia enrollees, 57 percent are female.

Office/Sen. Jay Rockefeller

Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is resigning and President Obama is expected to replace her with West Virginia native Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

Senator Jay Rockefeller, (D-W.Va.) released the following statement about Sebelius’ resignation:

“For the past five years, I have marveled at Secretary Sebelius’s grace under pressure. She never backed down from the tremendous responsibilities of her position, which were of a magnitude no other cabinet secretary has ever had to face with regard to domestic policy.”

  A state official says a glitch in the federal health insurance marketplace has affected about 18,000 West Virginians trying to sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

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