Carolyn Senger, a preventive medicine doctor, regularly treats uninsured patients, coaching them how to stay healthy.
Now she is teaching them one more thing — how to sign up for insurance under the nation’s Affordable Care Act. “Not only can I help you with your health, but I can also help you get some coverage,” Senger says to her patients.
The floundering roll out of the federal government’s health care exchange has given Republicans plenty of reasons to criticize the Affordable Care Act. But setting aside the online train wreck of healthcare.gov and the cost of expanding health care to millions of Americans, there may also be existential political reasons the GOP hates Obamacare: Voter registration.
It goes back to the 1993 National Voter Registration Act — a.k.a. the Motor Voter act. It requires state agencies that provide public assistance, such as the DMV, must also offer voter registration materials to anyone they help.
Like health care, dental care matters, too. While about 14 percent of Californians lack health insurance, 39 percent lack dental coverage, according to a 2009 brief from the California HealthCare Foundation.
Even if you have dental insurance, it often has coverage limits and varying levels of out-of-pocket spending requirements that differ from health insurance
“if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan.”
That’s been President Obama’s talking point since 2009, before the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010.
But millions of Americans are receiving notices of policies being cancelled, NBC reported on Monday night and — citing four unnamed sources “deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act” — further argued that the administration has known this would happen for the last three years.
In the corporate world of American health care, with its consolidating hospital chains and doctors’ groups, psychologists and other mental health therapists are still mostly Mom-and-Pop shops; they’ve built solo practices, hanging their own shingles, not unlike Lucy in the Peanuts gang: “Psychiatric Help 5¢, The Doctor Is In.”
But that business model is shifting from solo practices toward large medical groups, say mental health experts. The shift is propelled by the Affordable Care Act.
Only about one in four low-income Californians say they have easily comprehensible information for health decision-making, and 71 percent say they would like more. That’s just one of the findings from a new statewide survey looking at “opportunities and challenges” in reaching this underserved population.
Under the Affordable Care Act the federal government is starting to link a hospital’s payments to how well they treat patients, and hospitals are responding by creating new customer-satisfaction positions like Sangha’s, changing security procedures, and even timing how long people must spend in computerized telephone call-routing systems before speaking to a human being.
Health plans are sending hundreds of thousands of cancellation letters to people who buy their own coverage, frustrating some consumers who want to keep what they have and forcing others to buy more costly policies.
In late September, Peter Lee, the executive director of Covered California — the state’s health insurance marketplace — was a guest on KQED’s Forum. It was just days until the Oct. 1 opening of the exchange. Lee touted the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, saying that many people would pay less for health insurance, …