Ellen Abbott/WRVO file photo

With a Supreme Court ruling expected in the coming days, the future of the Affordable Care Act is in the hands of the justices. One local lawmaker expects there will be changes to the controversial health care law, one way or the other.

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) says he has no idea which way the court will come down on King v. Burwell. That’s the case that could cripple the law, especially in the 36 states that aren’t subsidizing health care on their own, but letting the federal government do it.  

About one in four Obamacare enrollees who signed up for high-deductible health insurance chose not to access any care last year, according to a new study.  Health advocates are calling for more states to adopt programs like one just announced in New York state that connect people with low-cost coverage.

An analysis of data from the Urban Institute’s Health Reform Monitoring Survey showed more than 25 percent of people who bought non-group insurance last year did not use the coverage for needed services, like medical treatments, prescription drugs, and tests.


Five years after its passage, Obamacare still generates heated political arguments, and is exhibit A of the political polarization in Washington.  As the presidential election cycle begins to gear up, we will no doubt re-debate the law.  Just how successful has it been?  Is it achieving its objectives?  As a policy change, what have been its greatest challenges?  

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The deadline is approaching to sign up for health insurance for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and one Syracuse agency that signs people up for plans wants to make sure the word about that deadline is out.

February 15 is the last day that individuals can buy health insurance during this year’s open enrollment period. People who don’t meet that deadline will face a tax penalty.

Steve Wood, of ACR Health in Syracuse, expects there will be people who won’t meet the deadline.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) was one of three House of Representative Republicans who voted this week against a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Katko has said all along that he wouldn't vote for a full-scale repeal, unless there is an alternative to the sweeping health care law.

The congressman says Republican leadership was aware of how he would vote. In a statement following the vote, Katko said he was disappointed that the bill didn't provide a real solution to the rising costs of health care.


With a month and a half left in the second open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, professionals who help connect New Yorkers with insurance see a change in how individuals approach health coverage this year.

Many health insurance professionals say New Yorkers understand Obamacare better this year.

Jeff Welcher, account consultant with Rochester-area Bene-Care, says choosing a plan is still not a decision to be taken lightly.

Healthcare open enrollment poses challenges for some

Dec 26, 2014
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For those with variable incomes, signing up for health insurance on the New York State of Health Marketplace can be tricky.

The application asks for information about income to help determine whether an individual qualifies for an advanced premium tax credit. In the case of a sole proprietor, it may not be clear how much they will make in any given year.


Officials for the New York State Health Exchange say $27 million will go to help residents connect with insurance -- the same amount as last year. The state health department says it’s ready for the second open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, starting November 15.

National health care advocates worry that most states will be investing less on support staff to help sign people up for insurance, than was invested last year.

Sinsi Hernández-Cancio, health equity director at Families USA, says the second year of the ACA open enrollment will need resources.

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The Syracuse.com/Post-Standard/Siena College poll shows 17 percent of potential voters surveyed say health care is the most important issue to them.  In recent interviews, the two candidates in the 24th Congressional District race say there are good things and bad things about it.  

Democrat two-term Rep. Dan Maffei voted for the Affordable Care Act back in 2010, and he says he still supports the reforms that came with it.  But he admits there are problems.

During the last two elections New York and Pennsylvania Republicans campaigned on repealing and replacing so-called Obamacare – but House Republicans have yet to vote on a replacement plan.

Remember “repeal and replace”? It’s the campaign slogan that helped Republicans gain control of the House in 2010 and keep that majority in 2012. House leaders have done what they can to repeal the law – the GOP has cast more than 40 votes to scrap or defund all or part of the Affordable Care Act. But where’s the replacement?

In one of his first extended public interviews, John Katko talks with Grant Reeher on the Campbell Conversations.  Katko is the former federal prosecutor challenging Dan Maffei for the 24th Congressional district seat this fall.  In a wide-ranging discussion, Katko addresses whether he’s a moderate or a conservative, how he thinks about entitlements and taxes, Obamacare, and the level of dysfunction in the current Congress.  He also discusses the role of money in the campaign.

There's only a week left in the enrollment period for people to sign up to get health care through the Affordable Care Act. But there’s been a steady flow of central New Yorkers signing up for insurance policies through the New York exchanges in advance of that deadline.

ACR Health in Syracuse has been helping people in a nine-county area sign on to plans. Community Health Director Steve Wood says things have been going well so far, with 3,500 people covered by health insurance who weren’t before.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Cortland County has started a "Countdown to Coverage," to try and get the word out about the next major deadline for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

According to Lindy Glennon of the Cortland County Community Action Program, the next important date in the Affordable Care Act timeline is March 31, which is a little over three weeks away. March 31 is the last day to enroll in health coverage through the New York State of Health marketplace, without facing penalties.

In 2012, the voters in the 24th Congressional district gave Dan Maffei a second chance when they chose him to replace Ann Marie Buerkle, after she had defeated him just two years before.  Now a year in to his new term in office, Maffei sits down with host Grant Reeher to discuss unemployment benefits, economic inequality, Obamacare, Afghanistan, and whether Congress is becoming more functional.

Amid ongoing problems with the federal health insurance exchange website, New York is one of a handful of states where residents can successfully enroll through the state's health insurance marketplace, according to state officials.

Elisabeth Benjamin, a New York state health navigator, said the site did have some glitches in the first two weeks, but said now she is thrilled with the exchange's success so far.  

How will the Affordable Care Act affect you?

Oct 1, 2013

The federal health law's individual marketplaces have started. In New York nearly all Americans will be required to have health insurance starting January 1, 2014, or else they will be liable for a tax penalty. There is considerable confusion about the law. Some people aren't sure if they qualify and they have no clear idea of how much insurance might cost.