Obamacare

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is extending an invitation to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to visit a free health clinic for the state's poor later this week.

McAuliffe, a Democrat, said the Republican majority leader could hear firsthand stories from people who struggle to obtain adequate health care.

The governor has been critical of Republican efforts to repeal the "Obamacare" health law. McAuliffe's invite is his latest effort to draw attention to the issue. 

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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.

Don Rush

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.

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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.
    

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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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) - Hundreds of people gathered for a rally outside the Virginia Capitol to oppose Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

High-ranking Democrats including Sen. Tim Kaine, Gov. Terry McAuliffe and U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott and Donald McEachin spoke to the crowd Sunday in Richmond. The rally was one of many around the country in support of the federal health care law, which President-elect Donald Trump has promised to overturn and replace.

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With the promise by a new congress and President-elect Donald Trump to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act some fear many will be left without health insurance in Maryland. Maryland News Connection Veronica Carter prepared this report.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware's health care commission is getting an update on enrollment in the state's health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

Thursday's briefing comes as federal officials report that 5,875 Delawareans have signed up for coverage during the current open enrollment period, which began Nov. 1. That number includes new signups and renewals.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Open enrollment is under way for Delawareans wanting to enroll in the state's health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

Delawareans are again facing steep price increases, with an average rate increase of 32.5 percent in the individual market for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware, which has the vast majority of the individual market share in Delaware. Aetna Life Insurance and Aetna Health Insurance Co. were approved for average rate increases of about 23 percent.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - An analysis for The Associated Press shows Maryland consumers next year will have more choices than consumers in many other states in health insurance markets created by President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

The analysis by Avalere Health finds Maryland among nine states that will have three or more participating insurers in its counties.

From 2014 to 2016, all of Maryland's counties and the city of Baltimore had three or more participating insurers. That will continue into 2017.

Virginia

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A new public opinion finds that 61 percent of Delawareans support legalizing the use of marijuana.

The survey by the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication also found that there was also a majority that support the death penalty for murder, Obamacare and increasing the minimum wage.

WBOC reports that Representative John Carney who is running for governor supports the current decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana but takes a wait and see position on legalization.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delawareans are again facing steep price increases for health insurance next year under the Affordable Care Act.

Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart has approved an average rate increase of 32.5 percent in the individual market for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware, which has the vast majority of the individual market share in Delaware. That follows an average premium increase of 22.4 percent for individual Highmark plans this year.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Health insurance companies participating in Delaware's health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act are seeking average rate increases of about 24 percent or higher for next year.

State officials disclosed Thursday that Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware is asking for an average rate increase of 32.5 percent for individual plans. Aetna Inc. wants regulators to approve a 25 percent average rate increase, while Aetna Life is seeking an average increase of 23.9 percent.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Terry McAuliffe says nearly 421,900 Virginia residents have signed up for health coverage through the HealthCare.gov marketplace.

The Democratic governor said total enrollment on the marketplace in Virginia this year exceeded the state's expectations. The figures reflect the number of people who signed up during the latest open enrollment period, which ended Jan. 31.

McAuliffe said the strong enrollment numbers shows that Virginians "recognize the value of high-quality health care."

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Enrollment in Delaware’s health exchange under Obamacare is up.

State officials say that more than 28,250 people signed up for plans or were automatically renewed.

That was a 13 percent increase over last year.

State Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf says that 22 percent involved new enrollees as of late December while 78 percent were renewals.

Nationally, there were around 12.7 million people who signed  up or automatically renewed their plans.

The deadline for signing up on the exchange was last Sunday.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Officials are updating this year's final enrollment numbers on Delaware's health insurance exchange.

Sunday was the deadline to sign up for exchange coverage this year under the Affordable Care Act.

Federal officials reported last week that more than 26,500 had selected plans on Delaware's exchange, but Delaware's Health Care Commission will get an update Thursday.

More than 80 percent of enrolled Delawareans have qualified for premium subsidies.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware's health care commission is getting an update on enrollment in the state's health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

Thursday's scheduled briefing comes as federal officials report that 5,471 Delawareans have signed up for coverage during the current open enrollment period, which end Dec. 15.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Federal officials say the cost of a benchmark plan on the health care exchange will go up 4 percent for Virginia residents.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials have decided not to develop the state's own health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act and instead will keep the current state-federal partnership model.

Delaware was granted nonbinding approval in June to develop a supported state-based health insurance marketplace, but Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf said Thursday that the state will not move forward with the plan.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he'll make a renewed push to expand Medicaid now that Republican primaries are over and the U.S. Supreme Court recently issued a decision upholding the Affordable Care Act.

McAuliffe said Thursday in a conference call with reporters that the Republican lawmakers who have previously blocked Medicaid expansion will be more open to compromise during next year's legislative session.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland is one of more than a dozen states where new Medicaid enrollees under President Barack Obama's health law have surpassed initial projections.

The projected newly eligible enrollment for fiscal year 2015 initially was 164,724.

The initial estimated cost was about $31 million for fiscal year 2017, when states begin paying their share.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is hailing the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows about 285,000 Virginians to continue receiving federal subsidies on health insurance plans purchased through on a federal marketplace.
 
The Democratic governor says he hoped the ruling would allow state lawmakers to "put partisan politics aside" and expand Medicaid, another key provision of the Affordable Care Act.
 

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials have received conditional approval from the federal government to switch to a state-run health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

While receiving approval Monday, officials cautioned that a final decision on moving to a state-run exchange has not been made.

Delaware currently is one of seven states that operate exchanges with the help of the federal government, including using the federal web portal to enroll people.

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As the U.S. Supreme Court nears the end of its term, two major cases have yet to be decided. The high court is set to rule on a glitch in the Affordable Care Act that could eliminate the federal subsidies in states that did not set up their own health insurance exchanges. The second major case raises the possibility that same-sex marriage could become a constitutional right. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush talked with NPR Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg about the upcoming decisions and the direction of the court.

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Only 23 percent of millennials in Delaware are signing up for the Affordable Care Act.

And that is among the lowest in the nation and 5 percent below the national average.

These are people between the ages of 18 and 34.

Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf told the Wilmington News Journal that she was hesitant to think that there has not been enough outreach.

Landgraf said that Medicaid enrollment may have contributed to the low signup rate for millennials.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The state of Maryland says 289,131 residents enrolled in health care in the second sign up period.

The state says 122,778 enrolled in private plans. Of those, 87,007 received an advanced premium tax credit. There were 35,771 enrolling in private plans without a subsidy.

There were 166,353 enrolled in Medicaid.

The state says 88 percent of applicants were determined eligible for financial assistance, either through Medicaid or subsidies for private plans. That's up from 80 percent a year ago.

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Signups for Maryland's Health connection are down by 10.4 percent so far.

That's despite efforts to increase the enrollment numbers, including a larger call center staff and a streamlined website.

February 15th was the enrollment deadline.

And, only 264,245 people have signed up.

That's compared to 295,077 during last year's longer open enrollment period.

But, the numbers are not final yet.

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