Affordable Care Act

Do you have questions about the Affordable Care Act? Are you trying to enroll in the new health exchanges? Do you know how the ACA will impact your bottom line? Join Iowa Public Radio’s reporters and talk shows as we report on the implementation of Obamacare. We’ll share news and issues as the health exchanges begin enrollment, businesses react to the law’s implementation, how the new law will impact Iowans, and what this means for the country.

Do you have questions you want answered or a story idea related to the ACA? Share it with our News team, and be a part of developing our reporting around the Affordable Care Act.

Or, consider joining the IPR Insight Network, where you may be called upon to provide knowledge and experience to help Iowa Public Radio in our reporting efforts. Sign Up here.

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River to River
5:52 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Iowans Weigh in on Supreme Court Hobby Lobby Decision

Nicholas Eckhart

Monday's U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of Hobby Lobby can be seen as "narrow" or "broad" - depending on how it's looked at. Today on River to River, we ask a political scientist and a legal expert what implications this ruling has for the future.

Today's guests include: Scott Peters, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Northern Iowa, and Mark Kende, Professor of Law at Drake and the Director of the Drake Constitutional Law Center.

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Politics Day
3:06 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Primaries a Bellweather for Iowa's U.S. Senate Race?

USA.gov

On Tuesday, six states held nominating contests and the Republican establishment scored big wins. Are the results a bellwether for Iowa’s primaries in less than two weeks?  Political analysts Dennis Goldford of Drake University and Tim Hagle of the University of Iowa give us their thoughts on the primaries for open congressional seats here in Iowa.  Host Ben Kieffer asks how the issues of minimum wage and the Affordable Care Act are being talked about by Iowa's GOP candidates for U.S. Senate.
 

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News
5:30 am
Fri May 2, 2014

In Medical Billing, Everyone Pays a Different Price

Karla Vaquerano-Serio (right) and Krystal Nichols are patient advocates at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

In a small room stuffed with cubicles at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, a team of patient advocates answers phones, enters data, and determines who is eligible for financial assistance.

When a patient at Mercy is faced with a hospital bill they can’t pay, they come here. Team leader Karla Vaquerano-Serio says many times, it’s only a matter of helping a patient sign up for a federal program they didn’t realize they qualified for.

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Health Care
4:21 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

The Influence of Insurance on Your Hospital Bill

Common hospital billing and insurance terms
Emily Woodbury, via Wordle

A trip to the emergency room is expensive, even for more routine procedures. Take for example, Ron Smith, an Indianola resident whose $24,240 bill for a rabies vaccination was negotiated down by $17,627 by his insurance company.

Today, the third installment in our examination of hospital costs. We find out how insurance negotiations play into how much you pay for that ER visit, how Iowa’s insurance landscape may change through the Affordable Care Act, and how the number of visits to the ER may be affected by Obamacare.

Today's guests include:

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Politics Day
4:18 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Opening the Floodgates for Money in Politics

401(K)2012 / flickr

Four years after the Citizens United ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has made a landmark decision that frees the nation's wealthiest donors to have greater influence in federal elections. Today on politics day, analysis of the court's decision.

Host Ben Kieffer talks with political analysts Stephen Schmidt and Timothy Hagle.

Also, a last-minute enrollment surge enabled the White House to meet its original sign-up target for the Affordable Care Act, a surprising victory for the Obama administration. How does this change the political landscape?

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Health
6:49 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Rural Iowa Cancer Care Challenges Highlighted in New Report

Credit asco.org

The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare is expected to provide millions more Americans with health insurance coverage. But a new report says the ACA alone may not solve disparities in cancer care. The University of Iowa partnered with the American Society of Clinical Oncology recently and released the State of Cancer Care in America: 2014. 

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Politics Day
4:02 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Olympics Don't Ease U.S. Russian Strain

U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation Michael McFaul greets President Obama
whitehouse.gov

Just outside the spotlight of these Olympic games in Sochi, Russia and the U.S. are navigating a tense point in their relationship.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Wayne Moyer, Rosenfield Professor of Political Science at Grinnell College and Tim Hagel, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Iowa about the tension and the ongoing cooperation between the U.S and Russia.  They also reflect on the U.S.

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Politics Day
3:19 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Pipeline Politics

A new U.S. State Department report raises no major environmental objections to the possible construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, but the report is being treated differently by Democrats and Republicans.  That and other political news; analysts for this Politics Day include Steffen Schmidt from Iowa State University and Bruce Nesmith from Coe College.

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News Buzz
1:06 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

You Have Neanderthal Genes

Neanderthal Mother (detail of diorama) in Anthropos Pavilion, Brno, Czech Republic
Jaroslav A. Polák

For our weekly news buzz program, we get a review of the pending U.S. farm bill that is moving through Congress, how businesses are dealing with the Affordable Care Act, modern humans have a surprising amount of genes that come from Neanderthals, an important piece of art is returning to Iowa, a new  smartphone app designed in Iowa with which users can hear and see how to pronounce certain foreign language sounds, and we hear from a couple mayors of towns on this year’s RAGBRAI route. 

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Health
5:20 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Iowa Medicaid Alternative Shows Fed's Flexibility

Jerry Gross, who's 56 and homeless, waits in line at the Central Shelter and Services to talk with a healthcare navigator.
Credit John Pemble / IPR

More than twenty states have refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, leaving many Americans below the poverty line with few health insurance options. Some states are coming up with their own low-income health plans which would give them some of the federal money set aside for Medicaid expansions while writing their own rules. Federal authorities approved Iowa’s alternative proposal. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports… the rest of the country is taking note. 

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Health
7:45 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Feds Approve Iowa's Medicaid Expansion Alternative - Mostly

Credit differentieel / Flickr

A months-long battle over health insurance for thousands of uninsured low-income Iowans has moved closer to resolution.  The federal government agreed to most of the plan Iowa adopted instead of  simply expanding Medicaid. But the feds say the poorest individuals should not have to pay premiums, as proposed under the Iowa plan.

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Health Care
2:45 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Health Insurance Updates

Christopher Penn

Two months after its disastrous launch, government officials say HealthCare.gov is now working 90 percent of the time and can handle the promised capacity of 50,000 users at any given time. Today on River to River, host Ben Kieffer checks in with public policy experts, Pete Damiano and Dan Shane, as well as Wellmark's Blue Cross Blue Shield CFO David Brown. Then, Des Moines psychiatrist Dr. Joyce Vista-Wayne discusses the mental health provisions added to the Affordable Care Act.

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Health
10:37 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Health Care Outreach Workers Stretched Thin

Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines is one of the places offering help to Iowans needing help signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Broadlawns Medical Center

Even if the rollout of the federal health law had gone off without a technical hitch, getting millions of Americans to sign up for insurance would still be a tall order. That’s why the law includes funding for workers trained to help people find their way around the new system. But in rural states like Iowa, with populations spread across hundreds of miles, those workers face an especially daunting challenge.

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River to River
1:32 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

News Buzz: Obamacare Fix and Cholesterol Guidelines

Iowa State Univeristy professor Matt DeLisi testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee about recommendations to reduce the prison population.
U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee

While support to reduce prison sentences has been growing, Iowa State University sociologist Matt DeLisi recently testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that for certain offenders this would be a mistake. 

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Health
7:09 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Iowa Insurance Commissioner: Obamacare Rollout "Bumpy," But Will Get Better

Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart says the rollout of the Affordable Care Act has been "bumpy," but he's been told the online marketplace will be fixed by the end of the month.
Credit LinkedIn

November 1 marks a month since the launch of the federal health insurance marketplace under Obamacare.  

As has been widely reported, the website has been plagued by problems from the start, and many Americans area struggling to get information.

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River to River
3:57 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Politics Day: Phone Tapping OurFriends and ACA

Credit sparktography

Amid allegations that the U.S.

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River to River
1:26 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Politics Day

U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack (D.-Iowa) speaks to Iowa veterans at the National World War II Memorial as part of the Oct. 18, 2013 Eastern Iowa Honor Flight.
Ben Kieffer Iowa Public Radio

President Obama has vowed to fix the Affordable Care Act's online insurance exchanges after an embarrassing launch, but what of the pending political fallout?

Also, will U.S. Rep. Steve King (R.-Iowa) have a challenger within the Republican Party for his seat next November and what are U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R.-Texas) prospects for a 2016 presidential run?

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River to River
4:33 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Obamacare: Tech Glitches and Policy

healthcare.gov
Ben Stanton/Iowa Public Radio

Join host Ben Kieffer to examine the technical issues surrounding the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and answer questions about the law itself, including its requirements and the process of enrolling in the health insurance exchanges online.

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