Affordable Care Act

The share of Oregonians and Washingtonians without health insurance has dropped dramatically under Obamacare. The uninsured rate is now at a historic low in the West Coast states.

Idaho has missed out on that trend, largely because the state until now has refused to expand Medicaid eligibility on the federal dime. Idaho's Republican-controlled legislature was teetering Friday on whether to end its holdout.

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You only have until the end of this month to sign up for coverage using one of the new health insurance exchanges. And if you’re planning to do it online at the last minute, how easy that will be depends on where you live in the Northwest. 

For the Affordable Care Act to be considered a success years down the road, Ezekiel Emanuel believes that all Americans must have access to health coverage, and it must be better quality and lower cost. "And I think it's well within our grasp," he says.

Oregon's insurance commissioner is defending a decision to allow health insurance companies to keep policies in place for a year even if they don't comply with the Affordable Care Act.

The Business Of Dying: Searching For Place To Die

Dec 6, 2013

Imagine shopping around for a new home, but instead of looking for a new place to live, you are looking for a place to die. That’s the situation 82-year-old Norma Chaty found herself in.

Nearly $500 million.

That’s how much the federal government has awarded Washington, Oregon and Idaho to create health benefit exchanges. These are the new web portals to purchase insurance under the Affordable Care Act. It’s a costly undertaking that involves six-figure salaries, hefty IT contracts and high-end advertising campaigns.

If a green, talking gecko can sell car insurance, then maybe Portland-based folk singer Laura Gibson can sell health insurance.

Abortion-rights supporters say they have enough votes to pass a controversial insurance mandate measure in the Washington state Senate. But it appears unlikely to clear a Republican-led health care committee before a Wednesday deadline.

Things got testy Monday at a public hearing on the measure. Democrat Karen Keiser urged Republican Chair Randi Becker to allow a committee vote on the bill.

“It’s the right thing to do and I would really ask you to consider my request,” Keiser said. To which Becker responded, “Thank you. We’ll consider it.”

OLYMPIA, Wash. – More than 100 health care advocates gathered in Olympia in support of Medicaid expansion Thursday. It coincided with an announcement by Gov. Jay Inslee, unveiling his budget priorities. His proposal includes an expansion of Medicaid.

That pleases Lauren Granger, a healthcare worker at the rally.

“I really hope that the legislature hears this message and isn’t pinching pennies in the wrong place and just have it be more expensive later on,” she says.

OLYMPIA, Wash. –Washington Governor Jay Inslee wants state lawmakers to move “quickly” to expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act. At a news conference Wednesday, the Democratic governor described expansion as a “no brainer” that will save the state money.

Inslee Committed To Medicaid Expansion

Jan 10, 2013

Democrat Jay Inslee made his first public appearance since he won the election. The governor-elect spoke yesterday (Wed) at a health care policy conference in SeaTac. As Ruby de Luna reports, Inslee reiterated his commitment to change health care in Washington state through the Affordable Care Act.

In less than 10 months, Washington State will launch its own health exchange. The exchange is part of the Affordable Care Act. It’s an online marketplace where people can buy health insurance. It’s like Expedia for health plans. But as Ruby de Luna reports, insurance brokers are apprehensive about the exchange. Many fear it will have a negative impact on their livelihood, just like Expedia removed the need for travel agents.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

“Happy and relieved.” Those are the words Washington Governor Chris Gregoire uses to describe the Supreme Court’s decision on health care. The Democrat Thursday told a personal story about a health scare in her own family.

Oregon health officials say Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act “clears the runway” for big changes to the state’s health care system.

Three States React To SCOTUS Decision

Jun 28, 2012

People around the Northwest have been giving all kinds of reactions to the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. State officials in Washington and Oregon were elated. Reactions were more muted in Idaho. We have three stories now from reporters in three state capitols.

Small business owners are also trying to gauge what the health care ruling means for them. Their views are sharply divided.

Allen4names / Wikimedia Commons

People across the Northwest have been reacting to today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold President Obama’s health care overhaul. Correspondent Anna King spoke to people outside the Kadlec Medical Center in Richland in southeast Washington.

Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber Reacts To Health Care Ruling

Jun 28, 2012
the Governor's office/ YouTube

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber reacted Thursday to the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act. He told Oregon Public Broadcasting the ruling is "good news for Oregon and very good news for America."

Photo source: Washington State Office of the Insurance Comissioner

We’ve been hearing responses all day from officials across the state about the Supreme’s Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act. KUOW’s Steve Scher spoke earlier with Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.

Kreidler said he’s “ecstatic” with the Supreme Court’s decision.
He said this is going to provide a competitive health care market in Washington…
And insurance providers will have to step up.

Franz Jantzen / supremecourt.gov

The U.S. Supreme Court could rule any day now on the Constitutionality of President Obama's health care overhaul. The decision could have broad implications for state health care policies in the Northwest.