KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: ACA Open Enrollment Without the Drama

by | Nov 3, 2022 | Health

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It’s open enrollment time for Affordable Care Act health coverage. And for the first time, people are enrolling with comparatively little controversy, as most Republicans have moved on from trying to repeal the law.

On the campaign trail, meanwhile, Democrats are charging that if Republicans win majorities in the U.S. House or Senate, they will try to cut Social Security and Medicare.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN, and Julie Appleby of KHN.

Among the takeaways from this week’s episode:

There are some big changes to the ACA from years past. The Biden administration used its authority to close the “family glitch” that had prevented many families of low- and moderate-income workers from getting subsidies to purchase insurance on healthcare.gov or state marketplaces.

Also new this year, states are required to offer “standardized” plans with the same benefits so consumers can better compare them.

Another important change: For the first time, people with low incomes (under 150 percent of the federal poverty level) can enroll in ACA plans anytime, instead of only during open enrollment. This could become particularly important in 2023, as many people are likely to lose their Medicaid coverage when the Biden administration ends the covid-related public health emergency.

Health overall has not been as big a campaign issue as usual. With a few exceptions, most Republicans on the campaign trail seem to have moved on from vows to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Abortion was expected to be the top voter concern in this year’s elections, but it seems to have been trumped in most cases by inflation and the state of the economy. At least one Democratic candidate, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, is trying to combine the issues. She is claiming that if voters in her state approve a constitutional amendment protecting the right to abortion, businesses in states with abortion bans will be more likely to move there. It’s unclear whether this will happen, though.

The Justice Department this week had its first-eve …

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