ACA

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Basics of the nation’s new healthcare law

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Dr. Dionne Hart, MD

What is the law known as “Obamacare” or the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? In March 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 that collectively reform healthcare access.  

What is the mandatory insurance provision? By 2014, most U.S. citizens and legal residents are required to obtain minimal essential health insurance coverage or pay a penalty or $95 per year or one percent of income, whichever is greater. The penalty will increase to $325 per year or two percent by 2015 and $695 or 2.5 percent by 2016. Continue Reading →

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Is President Obama a ‘lame duck’?

You be the judge
 
In the last 20 days, discussion on both the left and the right has been about the failures of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the real name of what both sides call “Obamacare,” long a term of pride for Democrats and one of derision for Republicans, and now one of confusion for both. With the elections of 2014 and 2016 looming, both parties are nervous, with the most scared trying to summarize it all in the term “lame duck.” This is another way for both sides to not address the problems they fear: health care, education, housing, immigration, foreign affairs, entitlement programs, etc. “Lame duck” won’t work. Obama has the courage and determination to persevere. One of two things will happen to the ACA: (1) repealed and replaced, or (2) kept but greatly modified. Continue Reading →

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Sebelius and Holder address NAACP convention — Speeches focused on Zimmerman verdict, Affordable Care Act, voting rights

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

 

In light of the recent George Zimmerman not-guilty verdict, both U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last week stressed the importance of civil rights during their scheduled appearances at the NAACP national convention in Orlando, Fla. The attorney general called for “a respectful, responsible dialogue about issues of justice and equality.”

“The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy for his family, but also for our country,” Sebelius pointed out. “So are the tragedies of all the children we have lost because of gun violence before and since Trayvon was killed.” She and Holder spoke separately to the NAACP July 16, three days after the Zimmerman trial ended on July 13. “Across America, diverse groups of citizens, from all races, backgrounds and walks of life are instead overwhelmingly making their voices heard” in disagreeing with the verdict, said Holder. “I hope that we will continue to approach this necessarily difficult dialogue with the same dignity that those who have lost the most — Trayvon’s parents — have demonstrated throughout the last year, and especially over the past few days.”

“The president hasn’t given up on pushing forward on commonsense gun violence prevention efforts,” reaffirmed the HHS secretary. Continue Reading →

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Confusion widespread on Affordable Care Act

 
Enrollment in new MN health insurance exchange begins in October 
 
 
 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be in full force sooner rather than later, and U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison says every American will benefit from it. However, he sadly points out that there are “professional misinformation spreaders trying to confuse people” on the law. Ellison held two separate forums on the ACA July 2, first with local small business owners at the Minneapolis Urban League’s Northside headquarters, then with community folk across the street at the NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center. The first was attended by around 20 business people, but none were Black business owners. “We certainly reached out,” said Ellison of this absence. Continue Reading →

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Obamacare ‘has something to do with Obama’

 
Beyond that, many folks are clueless how the new  insurance law affects them
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

An April Kaiser Family Foundation survey found many Americans are either unsure or still confused about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). At least half of respondents say they don’t have enough information about the federal healthcare law, “ObamaCare,” passed in 2010, to understand what it will do for them and/or their families. The MSR recently visited one of the community’s traditional places where people talk — the barber shop — to get first-person opinions on the ACA. We asked two questions; the first was, “Do you know what the ACA is all about?”

A professional football player said he didn’t want to know anything about the ACA. “I know it has something to do with Obama,” said a male patron who was in a hurry. Continue Reading →

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Minnesota adopts new MNsure health exchange

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed a new health exchange law on March 21, which is expected to enroll an estimated 1.3 Minnesotans starting next year, including 300,000 currently uninsured.  The health exchange is a key provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new MNsure health exchange will mainly be used by those who can’t get affordable health insurance through their jobs and those on public health plans. Small businesses with 50 or fewer employees also can buy group plans through the exchange for their employees. It is expected to begin open enrollment on October 1, and coverage will take effect on January 1, 2014. As a result, national advocates strongly suggest that these new state marketplaces are “consumer-friendly,” especially for Blacks and other people of color. Continue Reading →

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Medicaid expansion: more insured at state-budget savings

ACA advocates predict uninsured Blacks will drop from 20 to eight percent
 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The Greater United Way held a “community conversation” December 4 at the Wilder Foundation in St. Paul on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how it can help low-income uninsured Minnesotans. Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson and NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center CEO Stella Whitney-West, HealthPartners Government and Community Relations Vice President Donna Zimmerman and Jonathan Watson, Minnesota Association of Community Health Programs associate director spoke to an audience mainly composed of local health professionals. One-half of NorthPoint’s clientele are on Medicaid, the federal health program for low-income individuals and families. Thirty-seven percent are uninsured and 80 percent are from communities of color, Whitney-West pointed out. Continue Reading →

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Lack of oral healthcare a crisis for poor children, children of color

 
Current supply of dental providers  inadequate to meet provisions of  new healthcare law
 

 

Twelve years after issuing a landmark report that offered a framework for improving access to oral health, former Surgeon General David Satcher said that profound oral health problems still exist for large portions of the population. He issued a renewed call for action to expand access to oral health care, particularly in light of the millions of children expected to gain dental benefits through the Affordable Care Act in 2014. Speaking at a conference on unmet oral health needs sponsored by the Morehouse School of Medicine and the Sullivan Alliance to Transform America’s Health Professions, Dr. Satcher addressed progress that has been made since his landmark report on the silent epidemic of tooth decay. He also detailed profound oral health problems that remain more than a decade later. “We now have an opportunity [with the ACA] to improve access to dental health services,” said Satcher. Continue Reading →

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Communities of color suffer from lack of health insurance

 
Healthcare advocates predict Affordable Care Act will treat disparities

By Charles Hallman 

Staff Writer

 

Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be fully implemented by the end of 2014, several aspects of it already has been put in place. For instance, young adults and children with preexisting conditions no longer can be denied health insurance because of ACA changes already in effect. Over the next few months the MSR will be highlighting changes yet to come. Healthcare experts and advocates argue that Blacks and other people of color in this country have disproportionately high numbers of uninsured and underinsured adults and children. As a result, the ACA, which became law in March 2010, will help address the racial and ethnic disparities that now exist in the U.S., states Kaiser Family Foundation Disparities Policy Project Director Cara James. Continue Reading →

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