Affordable Care Act

Recent Articles

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 →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

No surprise! Racism unhealthy for Black males!

Access to good health care essential for Black men and boys regardless of social class
 
 By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

 

Racism historically has proven very unhealthy to Black males, says a Morehouse College School of Medicine community health professor. Dr. Henrie Treadwell’s new book, Beyond Stereotypes in Black and White (Praeger), examines among other things how racism impacts life opportunities for Black men and boys. “I think that is a real [important] question,” she said in a recent phone interview with the MSR.

Treadwell devotes the book’s fourth chapter to the actual impact of racism, which she states is too often at the center of many societal ills that face Black young men and follow them all through adulthood. “Racism really impacted the hiring practices and policies in this nation, and then…we add to that the criminal justice system that has incarcerated disproportionately African American boys and men and, when they are released, [they] still have the issues of employment,” she points out. Black males, regardless of income status, who find themselves in stressful environments produced by racism “still exist, and we need to come to grips with it,” says Treadwell. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

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 →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Affordable Care Act Updates — ‘Navigators’ to help spread the word on the state’s MNsure health exchange

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

“Under the Affordable Care Act, every plan in the marketplace has to cover a set of 10 essential benefits [such as] prescription drugs, lab services, hospitalization, emergency care, mental health care [and] maternity coverage,” said Families USA Health Policy Analyst Sarah Bagge during a March 22 webcast for reporters, including the MSR.

“There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to applying” for health coverage, she added.  “People will have different preferences in terms of how they want to sign up for health coverage,” whether on line, in person or by phone. “We have to recognize that there are going to be a lot of consumers that are going to need help or have questions,” Bagge explained. The “consumer-friendly” application process as well as other pertinent information will be available in Spanish and other languages besides English, Bagge continued. “We want to make sure that it is as easy as possible, and help needs to be available at every step of the way.”

There are many people who are digitally connected, but to expect every consumer to apply for health coverage on line “is unreasonable,” believes Enroll America Best Practices Institute Director Jenny Sullivan. Her research found that buying health insurance on line “is taking it a step too far for most folk. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

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 →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Minnesota legislators work to finalize State health exchange — Democratic majority doesn’t make exchange a ‘slam dunk’

 

 

By Charles Hallman 

Staff Writer

 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates that beginning in 2014, each state either must have a health exchange available that allows qualified individuals to buy coverage, or join with other states to create regional exchanges. Or can let the federal government do it. It is intended not only to offer affordable health insurance to consumers, but also to increase competition among private insurers, giving their prospective consumers the ability to choose from at least four different levels of policies. Minnesota’s new health insurance exchange is now a couple of steps from becoming reality after the Minnesota House last week voted 72 to 58 on a health insurance exchange bill. Minnesota is among 17 states plus the District of Columbia that are setting state-based exchanges. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Budget sequestration will undermine fight against HIV

On March 1, federal budget sequestration went into effect. This will result in across-the-board cuts of 5.3 percent in most non-defense discretionary programs, including Ryan White, HIV prevention, HIV research, AIDS housing support, and prevention and treatment programs for people with substance abuse problems.

By withholding vital funding from essential HIV programs that have seen minimal increases in recent years, these looming cuts will undermine efforts to achieve the targets set forth in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. The most severe effects will be felt in Black America, which has been more heavily affected by the HIV epidemic than any other racial or ethnic group. We are at a deciding moment in the trajectory of the AIDS epidemic. We are either going to decide to do what’s necessary to end the epidemic in this country, or we’re going to decide to continue to see American citizens get infected, get sick and die from AIDS. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Single payer health care essential to reducing healthcare disparities

By Andrea Parrott

Contributing Writer 

 

After daily witnessing situations in which patients suffered or had to make decisions detrimental to their health due to difficulties in accessing health care, Dr. Elizabeth Frost and Dr. Ann Settgast had enough. They felt they had to do something that would allow everyone to have health insurance and access to health care. The two decided to found the Minnesota chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP). PNHP is a national nonprofit organization whose members advocate for single- payer health care. The idea of single-payer health care is that instead of people paying fees to a private health insurance company, they will pay one fund. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

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 →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

What does it take to be a State Senator?

DFL Hayden describes full-time responsibilities of part-time role
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

When the 2013 Minnesota Legislative Session convenes January 8, State Senator Jeff Hayden officially will assume his office as Senate Deputy Majority Leader. The Minneapolis lawmaker is believed to be the first Black in history to be named to a high leadership post. Hayden told the MSR in an interview that Senate Majority Leader-designate Tom Bakk informed him of his new role November 14, nearly a week after the DFL became the majority party in both the Minnesota House and Senate in the Nov. 6 election. Hayden, Senator-elect Bobby Champion and St. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,