HealthConnections

Tuesdays during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

The brainchild of University of Tennessee associate professor Dr. Carole Myers, HealthConnections will bring the often-abstract world of health care, coverage and policy to a human level. What is access? How do marketplaces work? What's the future of health insurance? Dr. Myers and WUOT's Brandon Hollingsworth will sort through these issues and more, all to give you a toolbox for understanding what you hear on the news, or to separate fact from fiction in the health care debate.

Circle September 30 on your calendar. That's the end of the current federal fiscal year. With it may come significant changes for a children's insurance program, less money for community health centers, and a possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

There's a lot to look out for this week as the Friday deadline draws near. In this edition of HealthConnections, UT's Dr. Carole Myers talks with WUOT's Brandon Hollingsworth about the significance of September 30.

In testimony last week before the U.S. Senate's Health, Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee, Tennessee Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak and Governor Bill Haslam urged Congress to keep paying cost-sharing payments called CSRs. The Trump Administration has hinted it will halt those payments, a move observers have said could be dangerous for already-precarious markets, consumers and insurers.

Let's save health care!

Okay, how?

That's where the country is right now. Polls show Americans generally agree health options, coverage and care could stand a good spruce-up (or even a major renovation). But how, and by how much, are open questions that, for now, have no clear answers either among the public or among elected officials.

Fifty-two years ago this summer, President Lyndon Johnson brought into being a program that would re-shape health care options for the poor and disabled. Depending on the observer's politics, Medicaid is either hailed as a step forward for low-income Americans or castigated as a handout program for the lazy. In this edition of HealthConnections, the realities of Medicaid in Tennessee. 

Last week, Republican lawmakers who had hoped to repeal, in whole or in part, the Affordable Care Act were dealt a setback. None of the four options debated in the U.S. Senate were approved. That means the ACA remains the law of the land.

University of Tennessee nursing professor Carole Myers says now is the time to modify the ACA. The law has provided health coverage to millions, Myers says, but there's definitely room for improvement.

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