Those Left Out of Medicaid Expansion Won’t Be Penalized … Or Insured

By Alvin Tran, Kaiser Health News Low-income Americans who live in states that have decided not to expand Medicaid eligibility will not face penalties if they fail to buy insurance next year. Discussion: 78 million consumers saved $3.4 billion on ACA-provisioned health insurance That’s according to a final rule on exemptions to the health law’s individual mandate – the law’s controversial requirement that most Americans have health coverage or pay a penalty in 2014. That rule was published Wednesday. The health …

Countdown to Care: Winners and Losers

In the mad rush to pass budgets for the fiscal year beginning July 1, the health care of hundreds of thousands of hard-working Americans is at stake – and time is running out.  As I write, only about half of the states have agreed to expand Medicaid, which will extend health coverage to residents who earn about $15,000 a year or less.  The closer we come to July 1, the greater the wins and harder the losses: Key Winners: 300,000 …

Who Pays Some of the Highest Gas and Electric Bills?

Meet Paula Wood from Alabama. Retired, once married – now single, supporting herself on Social Security alone, Paula must make sacrifices to make ends meet. But, her electric bills have skyrocketed from $50 to $300 a month in six years. Paula has cut her budget in every possible way. She says, “I also have bronchial asthma, so I have to use power to be able to maintain breathing… If I didn’t have to eat and I didn’t have to breathe, …

Taxes on Social Security, Prescription Drugs, Food?

Tax reform proposals are bubbling up in a number of states across the country as elected officials look for ways to stimulate the state’s economy or revamp outdated tax codes. Sometimes, however, a key element gets lost in the debate: what’s fair. Right now, in North Carolina, state leaders are working on a variety of proposals that would force North Carolinians to pay new taxes on the things they count on most, including the basics of everyday living. One Senate …

3 Questions When Utility Companies Try to Raise Your Rates

Across the country, a number of gas and electric companies are looking to increase their customers’ bills. The cost of everything is going up, but sometimes utilities ask for too much. Here are 3 questions you should ask the next time your utility company tries to raise your rates: 1) When rates go up, will quality improve? Is the utility being held accountable for providing reliable service? 2) What impact do raised rates have on the company’s profit? Is the …

What Can We Do to Help Veterans?

As we head into the long Memorial Day weekend, we honor those who sacrificed their lives for our country. Let’s also remember the veterans who fought alongside those who made the ultimate sacrifice. They made sacrifices of their own while fighting for our country, to secure our safety. They left their families, often for long periods of time. Many were injured and continue to have health care needs. Today, let’s think about helping those veterans – and their families – …