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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Advocates press Biden to update Affordable Care Act essential benefits

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Thursday, February 22, 2024   

The number of people with Affordable Care Act health coverage is on the rise, but many are not able to access the care they need to get and stay healthy.

Adam Fox - deputy director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative - said the Biden Administration has an opportunity to update the ACA's Essential Health Benefits, services that almost all individual and small-employer insurance plans across the country are required to cover.

He said all Americans need access to fundamental services.

"Like dental, which is currently covered for children, but not adults," said Fox. "It should cover the full range of reproductive health services, and perinatal and postpartum care for people who are giving birth, as well as hearing and vision benefits."

Colorado has made some headway expanding benefits to address health care needs, including gender-affirming care and coverage for all people regardless of their immigration status.

Some insurers providing coverage through the ACA have warned that expanding essential benefits will drive up insurance premiums and health care costs in general.

Fox said he believes updating essential benefits would actually lower costs, and improve the quality of health coverage for all people - whether they get insurance through ACA marketplaces like HealthCare.gov, employer-sponsored plans, or programs like Medicaid.

"The reality is many of these services, that are proactive and preventative care," said Fox, "help people maintain their health and avoid much more costly health interventions, are likely to save costs."

It's been more than 13 years since the Affordable Care Act established rules defining ten categories of health services that most insurance policies must cover.

Fox noted that many states have not done anything to update or expand benefits.

"And what we need is federal action to update essential health benefits," said Fox, "ensure that the full range of whole person care is covered, and that that is made a requirement across the country."



Disclosure: Community Catalyst contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Reproductive Health. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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