Affordable Care Act

California's Obamacare premiums will jump 13.2 percent on average next year, a sharp increase that is likely to reverberate nationwide in an election year.

The increase, announced by the Covered California exchange Tuesday, ends the state's two-year respite from double-digit rate hikes.

The announcement comes as the presidential candidates clash over the future of President Obama's landmark health law and as major insurers around the country seek to announce even bigger rate increases during the open enrollment period this fall.

Obamacare health plans have been getting a bad rap this year. Critics say the premiums are too high, the out-of-pocket costs are out of control, and the requirements and red tape are too thick.

But now the Obama administration is pushing back.

A study released Tuesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services argues that the cost-sharing isn't nearly as heavy as previous analyses have shown, because most consumers get subsidies that limit their deductibles and copayments.

President Obama on Monday called on Congress to revisit the controversial idea of providing a government-run insurance plan as part of the offerings under the Affordable Care Act.

What's been described as the "public option" was jettisoned from the health law in 2009 by a handful of conservative Democrats in the Senate. Every Democrat's vote was needed to pass the bill in the face of unanimous Republican opposition.

The Affordable Care Act opened the door for millions of young adults to stay on their parents' health insurance until they turn 26.

But there's a downside to remaining on the family plan.

Chances are that Mom or Dad, as policyholder, will get a notice from the insurer every time the grown-up kid gets medical care, a breach of privacy that many young people may find unwelcome.

With this in mind, in recent years a handful of states have adopted laws or regulations that make it easier for dependents to keep medical communications confidential.

When the health insurance premiums got to the point that they were higher than her mortgage, Renee Powell started to become cynical.

"There was something in me that just kind of switched," said the mother of two from Bartlesville, Okla. "I was OK with paying $750, but when it became about $100 more than my housing costs, it upset me."

Powell is an epidemiologist and used to work for the state in Oklahoma City. She had affordable insurance through that job.

Insurance giant United Healthcare Group has griped that the Obamacare insurance exchanges for health coverage are money-losers and has threatened to stop selling plans on them.

United Healthcare's latest move is to drop out of the Obamacare insurance market in Oklahoma in 2017. It's the fourth state that the company is abandoning because it says selling insurance plans on exchanges there is unprofitable.

Split Views On Health Overhaul In Ohio

Mar 11, 2016

Adults in Ohio are divided when it comes to whether they believe the Affordable Care Act has been good or bad for them.

And while most rate their own health care positively, far more Ohioans rate the state's overall health care system as fair or poor than rate it as excellent. Those are some of the findings in a series of recent polls by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

People in Texas are significantly more likely than adults nationwide to report that it has gotten harder to see a doctor in the past two years.

The finding comes from polling done by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Vera Brown has been stuck aboard the doctor merry-go-round for years now, trying to find an orthopedic surgeon who accepts her insurance. She doesn't find the seemingly endless calls, questions or repetition amusing.

The United States has the most advanced health care in the world. There are gleaming medical centers across the country where doctors cure cancers, transplant organs and bring people back from near death.

A series of polls in key states by NPR and its partners finds that more than half of adults in the U.S. believe the Affordable Care Act has either helped the people of their state or has had no effect. Those sentiments are common despite all the political wrangling that continues over the law.

About a third (35 percent) of adults say the law has directly helped the people of their state, while a quarter (27 percent) say it has directly hurt people.

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