healthcare

Ryland Barton

President Donald Trump urged a crowd in Louisville to support the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare currently making it through the U.S. House of Representatives.

Official Photo, Public Domain

A rally of about 20 people this afternoon in downtown Martin, Tennessee called for Republican Representative David Kustoff to vote against repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Attendees chanted "Medicaid for All" and "Universal Healthcare" to people driving by. 

For years, Republicans in Congress have promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, claiming that its requirement for nearly everyone to buy insurance or pay a fine is burdensome and costly, and it doesn't give people enough flexibility to get the coverage they need.

The Republican health care overhaul working its way through the House is opposed by Democrats and by many Republican conservatives. It's none too popular with the people on the front lines of health care, either — including doctors, nurses and hospitals.

The chief medical officer of Medicaid, Dr. Andrey Ostrovsky, tweeted out his opposition on Wednesday. "Despite political messaging from others at HHS, I align with the experts ... in opposition to #AHCA," the career staffer said.

iStockPhoto

Murray State University's Board of Regents are considering options to reform or outsource healthcare and mental health services for students, faculty and staff. The board discussed recommendations from consulting group Hodgkins Beckley on Friday. 

In recent days, several Republican lawmakers have faced crowds of constituents at town hall meetings around the country who are angry that they may be in danger of losing their health coverage.

As Republicans move to overhaul the health law, should people bother paying the penalty for not having health insurance when they file their taxes this year? Or will they be able to sign up on the exchange for 2018 after their COBRA benefits end?

Here are some answers to recent questions from readers.

I didn't have health insurance for part of last year and thought I'd get stuck paying a penalty. Now the new administration is talking about not enforcing the insurance requirement. Could I really be off the hook at tax time?

Through years of acrimony over the relative merits of Obamacare, one kind of health insurance has remained steady, widespread and relatively affordable: Employer-sponsored plans.

Job-based medical plans still cover more Americans than any other type, typically with greater benefits and lower out-of-pocket expense. Recent cost increases for this sort of coverage have been a tiny fraction of those for Obamacare plans for individuals.

They are just three little words — "health savings accounts" — but they are generating a lot of buzz as Republicans contemplate plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Expanding the use of these accounts, based on a long-held conservative view that consumers should be more responsible for their health care spending, is a part of almost every GOP replacement plan under consideration on Capitol Hill.

As promised, President Trump has moved to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. It's a concern for those who might be left without health insurance — and especially for the Department of Veterans Affairs, which may have to pick up some of the slack.

Carrie Farmer, a health policy researcher at the Rand Corp., says 3 million vets who are enrolled in the VA usually get their health care elsewhere — from their employer, or maybe from Obamacare exchanges. If those options go away, she has no idea just how many of those 3 million veterans will move over to the VA.

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