Affordable Care Act

Just over two-thirds of Californians who did not have health insurance before the Affordable Care Act went into full effect in 2014 are now covered, according to a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The newly insured are much less likely to say that paying for health care is a problem, compared to when they were uninsured.

Monthly premiums for California's 1.3 million Covered California customers will rise a modest 4 percent, on average, officials with the agency said Monday. This increase is slightly less than last year's increase of 4.2 percent for consumers who bought policies on the state's health insurance marketplace.

Some consumers could even achieve a reduction in their premium, of an average of 4.5 percent, if they choose to shop around.

There's a battle brewing behind the scenes to keep health plans affordable for consumers. The Obama administration weighed in this week, sending letters to insurance regulators in every state and Washington, D.C., that ask them to take a closer look at rate requests before granting them.

Under the Affordable Care Act, state agencies largely retain the right to regulate premiums. So far only a handful have finalized premiums for the coming year, for which enrollment begins in November.

About 7.5 million Americans paid an average penalty of $200 for not having health insurance in 2014 — the first year most Americans were required to have coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday.

By contrast, taxpayers filing three-quarters of the 102 million returns received by the IRS so far this year checked a box indicating they had qualifying insurance coverage all year.

Until recently, John Henry Foster, an equipment distribution firm based in Eagan, Minn., offered its employees only a couple of health plans to choose from. That's common in companies across the United States.

"They just presented what we got," says Steve Heller, a forklift operator who has worked at John Henry Foster for 15 years.

The Affordable Care Act got a big boost from the Supreme Court in June. But some states are still dealing with fallout from a previous Supreme Court decision that left it up to states to decide whether or not to expand Medicaid.

In Florida, which opted not to expand, about 850,000 people were left in health care limbo that some call the coverage gap.

The Supreme Court term that just ended included historic rulings in support of same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act. "Political scientists will say that this is a liberal term for the ages," Adam Liptak, the Supreme Court correspondent at The New York Times, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

5 Challenges Still Facing Obamacare

Jun 26, 2015

In its first five years, the Affordable Care Act has survived technical meltdowns, a presidential election, two Supreme Court challenges — including one resolved Thursday — and dozens of repeal efforts in Congress. But its long-term future still isn't ensured.

Here are five of the biggest hurdles that remain.

Medicaid Expansion

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the US Supreme Court ruling in favor of Affordable Care Act supporters, the Political Director of the state Republican Party resigns after pressure from GOP officials and Oklahoma City attorney Jerry Fent files a lawsuit challenging he upcoming state budget.

The trio also discusses a successful petition seeking a grand jury investigation of Tulsa's sheriff, Oklahoma's Democratic Party considers the option to open its primaries to independent voters and racist pamphlets in the eastern Oklahoma town of Pryor.

This is the season finale of This Week in Oklahoma Politics, Ryan and Neva are taking a break over the summer and will return in September.

The U.S. Supreme Court handed the Obama administration a sweeping victory on Thursday, upholding the nationwide subsidies that are crucial to the president's health care law. By a 6-3 vote, the high court ruled that Congress meant all three major provisions of the law to apply to all states and to work in tandem.

The ruling was the court's second decision upholding the Affordable Care Act — three years ago, it upheld the law as constitutional.

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