Affordable Care Act

The deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable care act is about two weeks away. Under the law, anyone without a plan in place by February 15th will  face fines.

For many, the process is confusing and even daunting, but if you haven’t signed up yet and would like to, there’s still time. A non-partisan group called “Enroll Virginia” is offering free help over the phone or in person for anyone who has not chosen a health coverage plan.

Virginia’s hospitals are required  to treat anyone who comes to their emergency rooms, and they’re spending about $600 million a year on charity care.  Meanwhile, state lawmakers refuse to expand Medicaid, and the federal government is cutting payments for Medicare.  Unless something is done,  some hospitals say they may be forced to close.  

Patricia Springer owns a small business – Moonbeam Massage.  She’s happy to help people who’ve suffered an injury or illness, but since the great recession began, business has been slow.

Associated Press

It’s roughly a month before Virginians must decide whether to rehire Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Warner, or choose someone new. During a forum where seniors had an opportunity to interact with Warner's leading opponent, Republican Ed Gillespie, the questions weren't focused on retirement and senior care. Instead, they addressed hot-button issues such as immigration reform, the Affordable Care Act, and strengthening the military. 

While states prepare for the next Affordable Care Act open enrollment period, Virginia lawmakers say they're not happy that almost a quarter of a million Virginians who are already insured are learning—or about to find out—that their current insurance policy will no longer be in effect.

 

Many are current individual policyholders whose health plans don't meet ACA mandates, but an effort is also underway to make policy start and end dates more uniform. Republican State Senator Frank Wagner finds this to be quite disturbing.

Some Virginia policy analysts say after months of stalling and keeping constituents on the edge of their seats, the General Assembly still blundered by passing a budget without Medicaid expansion.

Groups that include Virginia Organizing, Progress Virginia, and the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis say that not only has the budget left hundreds of thousands of Virginians without affordable healthcare options—but residents are left with a gaping budgetary hole that needs to be filled.  

 

Pages