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Day of action focuses on CT undocumented's healthcare needs; 7 jurors seated in first Trump criminal trial; ND looks to ease 'upskill' obstacles for former college students; Black Maternal Health Week ends, health disparities persist.

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Seven jury members were seated in Trump's hush money case. House Speaker Johnson could lose his job over Ukraine aid. And the SCOTUS heard oral arguments in a case that could undo charges for January 6th rioters.

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Fears grow that low-income folks living in USDA housing could be forced out, North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues, and small towns are eligible for grants to boost civic participation..

Advocates press Biden to update Affordable Care Act essential benefits

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Thursday, February 22, 2024   

The number of people with Affordable Care Act health coverage is on the rise, but many are not able to access the care they need to get and stay healthy.

Adam Fox - deputy director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative - said the Biden Administration has an opportunity to update the ACA's Essential Health Benefits, services that almost all individual and small-employer insurance plans across the country are required to cover.

He said all Americans need access to fundamental services.

"Like dental, which is currently covered for children, but not adults," said Fox. "It should cover the full range of reproductive health services, and perinatal and postpartum care for people who are giving birth, as well as hearing and vision benefits."

Colorado has made some headway expanding benefits to address health care needs, including gender-affirming care and coverage for all people regardless of their immigration status.

Some insurers providing coverage through the ACA have warned that expanding essential benefits will drive up insurance premiums and health care costs in general.

Fox said he believes updating essential benefits would actually lower costs, and improve the quality of health coverage for all people - whether they get insurance through ACA marketplaces like HealthCare.gov, employer-sponsored plans, or programs like Medicaid.

"The reality is many of these services, that are proactive and preventative care," said Fox, "help people maintain their health and avoid much more costly health interventions, are likely to save costs."

It's been more than 13 years since the Affordable Care Act established rules defining ten categories of health services that most insurance policies must cover.

Fox noted that many states have not done anything to update or expand benefits.

"And what we need is federal action to update essential health benefits," said Fox, "ensure that the full range of whole person care is covered, and that that is made a requirement across the country."



Disclosure: Community Catalyst contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Reproductive Health. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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