It is more than two and a half years since Congress passed and the President signed the Affordable Care Act. And it has been a good three months now since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal healthcare law. This week, The Local Show goes on location at the Kauffman Foundation for a conversation with regional health leaders to get a status report on how Kansas and Missouri are implementing these reforms and how the law is impacting small business owners, the uninsured, college students and those with pre-existing medical conditions.
It’s complicated, head-scratching stuff. Do you know what a state health insurance exchange is? It’s one of the basic questions we get to the bottom of in this program.
Also, a quick reality check on the Affordable Care Act. Did you know that while many of its most controversial provisions don’t go into effect until 2014, you can keep your college age kids on your health insurance plan until they’re 26? That is in effect now. And insurers are no longer allowed to charge women more than men simply because of their gender. Plus, insurance companies can no longer charge or require a co-pay for over 60 preventative care services.
Currently, 48 million Americans don’t have health insurance. The Affordable Care Act is supposed to dramatically diminish that number by finally providing an affordable option for most Americans through the creation of new insurance pools managed by the states where people could get coverage at a reasonable price.
States are to start enrolling patients starting next year so that by 2014 they would be covered by health insurance, but as of now, only 15 states have established those so called “state health exchanges” and Kansas and Missouri are not among them.
In Missouri, there’s a statewide issue on the ballot November 6th that, if approved by voters, would block the governor or any Missouri agency from creating a state health exchange without approval from voters or the legislature.
In Kansas, Governor Brownback has chosen not to work towards establishing an exchange until the results of the Presidential election are known.
The panelists for this discussion include:
Jay Anghoff, Regional Director
U.S. Health Department
Andrea Routh, Executive Director
Missouri Health Advocacy Alliance
Sheldon Weisgrau, Director
Health Reform Resource Project
Ryan Barker, Public Policy Director
Missouri Foundation for Health
Kansas Insurance Commission