Affordable Care Act

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Democratic Gov. John Carney says President Donald Trump's decision to end federal cost-share subsidies under the Affordable Care Act will hurt thousands of low-income Delaware residents.

Carney said in a statement Friday that low-income Delawareans rely on those taxpayer subsidies to make their health insurance and health care affordable.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delawareans will pay 25 percent more next year than they did this year for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

State insurance commissioner Trinidad Navarro announced Thursday that he had approved the latest double-digit increase for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, which will be the only insurer providing ACA coverage in Delaware.

Highmark sought a rate increase of 33.6 percent earlier this year after Aetna, which covers almost 12,000 Delawareans under the ACA, announced that it is pulling out of Delaware health insurance exchange.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's governor says a revived Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act won't work for Maryland.

Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said Tuesday the Graham-Cassidy health care bill would "cost our state over $2 billion annually while directly jeopardizing the health care of our citizens."

The effort to repeal the health care law in Washington has taken on new life after it seemed all but dead earlier this summer.

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) - A company that offers individual health insurance plans in Virginia says it's scaling back while raising rates next year.

The Daily Press in Newport News reports that Optima Health made the decision as the future of the Affordable Care Act remains uncertain. Three other insurers recently announced they're pulling out of Virginia's individual market.

Optima reversed plans to sell individual plans in the Richmond, Danville and Bristol areas. It will remain in the Hampton Roads region and other markets, including Harrisonburg.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - As proposals to change the nation's health insurance landscape continue to move swiftly, a Maryland commission created to monitor potential changes to the Affordable Care Act is scheduled to meet for the first time.

The panel is scheduled to meet Tuesday in Annapolis.

Democrats who control the legislature created the commission by legislation this year, out of concern that President Donald Trump and the GOP-led Congress would repeal the health care law. So far, they haven't, but the White House is insisting that the Senate resume efforts to repeal.

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Senator Tom Carper denounced the decision by his Republican colleagues to move ahead with consideration of a measure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

In a written statement the Delaware Democrat said he had never seen anything like the push to approve such a wide ranging measure.

Democrats note that the Senate is moving forward without the normal committee hearings to take testimony on the impact of such legislation.

Carper complained that it was not clear what was being forced to consider.

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The Senate will not vote on its health care bill this week after losing the support of GOP lawmakers and a bad review by the Congressional Budget Office. Maryland Senate President Mike Miller was in Salisbury for a luncheon at the Greater Salisbury Chamber of Commerce where we sat down with him to talk about the Senate measure what must be done to fix the health care system.

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Governor Larry Hogan was in Salisbury for a luncheon where he told Delmarva Public Radio that he was frustrated by the plans on Capitol Hill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

During a luncheon in Salisbury he told Delmarva Public Radio that he had urged the state’s Maryland congressional delegation to seek compromise on reforming the Affordable Care Act.

As for the Senate bill the Maryland Republican said he did not believe that it would serve the interests of the state residents.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A spokeswoman for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says health care bills in Congress "do not work for Maryland."

Amelia Chasse, the Republican governor's spokeswoman, wrote in an email Thursday that the current health care system "needs to be fixed." But she says Congress "should go back to the drawing board in an open, transparent and bipartisan fashion to craft a bill that works for all Americans."

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware is seeking a rate increase of 33.6 percent for covering individuals under the Affordable Care Act.

State insurance regulators said Wednesday that the requested rate increase assumes that current cost-sharing subsidies and a federal mandate requiring people to have health insurance will not be in place next year.

Highmark's rate request comes after Aetna, which covers almost 12,000 Delawareans under the ACA, announced last month that it is pulling out of Delaware health insurance exchange.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Aetna, which covers almost 12,000 Delawareans under the Affordable Care Act, is pulling out of the state's health insurance exchange.

The company informed state insurance regulators Wednesday that it would not participate in Delaware's health insurance marketplace for 2018.

Officials said coverage for Aetna customers will last through the end of this year, but that anyone with a pre-existing condition for which they were being treated may be able to continue having that treatment covered.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia state lawmakers are set to return to the Capitol to consider Gov. Terry McAuliffe's vetoes and amendments to legislation they passed earlier this year.

Lawmakers will also consider the governor's tweaks to the state budget at the so-called "veto session" on Wednesday.

The governor, a Democrat, vetoed 40 pieces of legislation on hot-button social issues like guns, abortion and immigration. The Republicans who control the General Assembly do not have the super majorities required in both chambers to overturn a veto.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A measure to create a commission to monitor federal actions that could affect health care in Maryland has cleared the General Assembly.
 
The Senate voted 32-14 on Wednesday for the bill, sending it to Gov. Larry Hogan.
 
The measure forms a commission to monitor federal actions and provide recommendations to protect access to affordable health coverage. The commission would submit a report on its findings and recommendations at the end of each year.
 

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BEL AIR, Md. (AP) - Maryland's only congressional Republican is telling constituents that he supports efforts underway in Congress to reform the health care system.

Rep. Andy Harris, a physician who represents Maryland's Eastern Shore and parts of the greater Baltimore region, met Saturday with small groups of constituents during "office hours" in Bel Air.

Harris has not yet held a formal town hall meeting constituents since President Donald Trump took office, though on Friday he announced one scheduled for March 31.

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The GOP efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act has gotten underway in Washington. But, there are words of caution from Maryland officials. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush breaks down what the impact of the Republican plan might have on the Free State with Vincent DeMarco, president of Maryland Citizens Health Initiative, which has been critical of the GOP plan.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Leading Maryland Democrats are supporting legislation for funding Planned Parenthood because of concerns that the federal government will cut family planning funds.

House Speaker Michael Busch joined other lawmakers Wednesday to express support for continued family planning services in the state. Busch says the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act in Washington could cut family planning services that help 25,000 women in the state.

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Some cancer patients and survivors showed up outside the Salisbury office of Representative Andy Harris (R-Md).

Their message: Any changes in the Affordable Care Act must maintain adequate and affordable coverage.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the group chanted, ”Keep us covered. Don’t cut our lifeline.”

Of special concern was keeping the provision that would not allow insurance companies to discriminate on the basis of a pre-existing condition.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland health care advocates are highlighting the need for a new state commission to monitor potential changes to the Affordable Care Act.
    
They are scheduled to gather Wednesday before a hearing on the Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Act.
    
It is part of a package of bills that Democrats are backing out of concern for how policies supported by President Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress could hurt Maryland.
    

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Around 100 people showed up for a town hall on Friday in Salisbury centering on the question of what will become of the Affordable Care Act under the new administration.

The organization Together We Vote Delmarva had invited Eastern Shore congressman Andy Harris to attend.

Michelle Schlehofer with Together We Vote Delmarva which put on the event said they had contacted Harris’ office numerous times asking that he attend.

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EASTON, Md. (AP) - The only Republican in Maryland's Congressional delegation says he will hold an in-person town hall to discuss Congress' plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

First District Rep. Andy Harris' office said in a news release Thursday that the in-person town hall will be held on March 31, when it is expected a new plan will be available by the end of March.

Harris, who conducted a teleconference town hall last week, will hold two more, on Feb. 27 at 5:30 p.m. and Feb. 28 at 6 p.m.

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Congressman Scott Taylor faced a crowd of over 200 constituents 50 whom found themselves left outside the hall on the campus of the Eastern Shore Community College in Melfa.

The Virginia Republican took 22 questions with the audience sometimes booing, sometimes cheering.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that overall the meeting was civil unlike many of town hall faced by his Republican colleagues around the country.

Taylor said that encouraged engagement by citizens but felt disrupting a meeting was wrong.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Activists opposed to President Donald Trump are calling on Gov. Larry Hogan to take a stand against his policies.

Three women interrupted the Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday to ask why the Republican governor wasn't speaking out against Trump.

In video recorded by a Baltimore Sun reporter, Samantha Easton asked Hogan "to speak up against the current administration's agenda." She specifically noted concerns about repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

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BEL AIR, Md. (AP) - Constituents of Maryland's lone Republican in Congress took part in one of several town halls planned to provide information on the future of the Affordable Care Act.

About 180 people attended a town hall Tuesday night at Harford Community College. A spokeswoman for Citizens for Health Care says Rep. Andy Harris was invited to the event, but he did not attend.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Fearful of President Donald Trump's policies, the Maryland General Assembly has empowered the state's Democratic attorney general to sue the federal government without permission from the state's Republican governor.

The House of Delegates voted 89-50 along party lines on Wednesday for a joint resolution already approved by the Senate.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - After seeing disruptions at town hall meetings held by his fellow Republicans, Rep. Andy Harris says he's moving to virtual town halls.

The Cockeysville Republican said Tuesday during WBAL-AM's "The C4 Show" that he doesn't put stock in angry crowds at the meetings, blaming an organized group that opposes President Donald Trump and "wants to cause trouble."

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Fearful of President Donald Trump's policies, the Maryland General Assembly is poised to empower the state's Democratic attorney general to sue the federal government without permission from the state's Republican governor.

The House of Delegates is expected to make a final vote Wednesday on the joint resolution already approved by the Senate.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate is scheduled to vote on a resolution to empower the attorney general to sue the federal government without the governor's permission.

The Senate is expected to vote Friday on the resolution, which would clear the way for the Democratic attorney general to sue the federal government for policies with which it disagrees, including President Donald Trump's travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority counties.

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Around 30 people showed up at the Bel Air office of Congressman Andy Harris yesterday afternoon worried about the future of the Affordable Care Act.

The Eastern Shore Republican supports the repeal of Obamacare and says he is favors replacing it.

The group led by the organization Together We Will-Harford County/Upper Chesapeake carried signs and shouting slogans including one suggesting that the congressman was “missing in action” on the issue.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Democratic lawmakers in Maryland are outlining initiatives to help the state respond to actions taken by President Donald Trump and a Republican-led Congress against health care reform and other potential federal actions that could hurt the state.

Democratic leadership was joined by Attorney General Brian Frosh to talk about the package of legislation Tuesday.

Democrats say Maryland is at risk of losing billions of dollars in federal aid over the next four years if health care reform is repealed.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates will be pushing legislation again this session to promote direct primary care agreements, in which patients pay a fee for unlimited primary care.

Del. Steven Landes outlined Republicans' health care priorities in a speech on the House floor Thursday.

Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed primary care legislation last year that supporters said was needed to provide legal clarity for them and their customers. It clarified that direct primary care agreements are not insurance and cannot be regulated as such.

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