Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., at an Oakland, Calif., campaign rally this week. Harris says she backs a single-payer health system, but she hasn't yet offered details on how she would finance that plan.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a speech Thursday to the new Congress that Democrats want "to lower health care costs and prescription drug prices and protect people with pre-existing medical conditions."
Though his politics are right of center and he lobbied hard against the Affordable Care Act, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch also has been key to passing several landmark health laws with bipartisan support.
Philadelphia demonstrators protested earlier moves by Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act last February. If the ACA is indeed axed as unconstitutional, health policy analysts say, millions of people could lose health coverage, and many aspects of Medicare and Medicaid would change dramatically.
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In 2015, demonstrators in Washington, D.C., urged Supreme Court justices to save the Affordable Care Act from a legal challenge. The federal health law survived, but last week U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor ruled it invalid. An appeal of his controversial decision is underway.
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People who earn up to 400 percent of the poverty level (about $48,500 for an individual and $100,400 for a family of four in 2019) are eligible for subsidies of the cost of their marketplace health plans. But many of the 5 million who aren't eligible feel crushed by rising costs.
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The Trump administration said Thursday it wants states to innovate in ways that could produce more lower-cost health insurance options — even if those alternatives do not provide the same level of financial or medical coverage as an ACA plan.
Affordable Care Act navigator Nini Hadwen (right) helped Jorge Hernandez (left) and Marta Aguirre find a plan on the health insurance exchange in Miami in 2013. Today, with fewer navigators, much of that counseling is done by phone instead of in person.
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More than half of all counties in the 39 states that rely on the federal HealthCare.gov exchange for ACA health insurance are experiencing a 10 percent price decrease, on average, for their cheapest plan for 2019.