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Impact of Obamacare

SJ-R Special Report  |  Impact of Obamacare

Reporter Dean Olsen examined the Affordable Care Act and its expected impact in this five-day series that ran Aug. 4-8, 2013, in The State Journal-Register.


>> Questions linger about benefits of Obamacare
Judy Wolf left her longtime doctors about a year ago when she lost her health insurance, knowing she couldn’t afford to pay the full cost to see them. The Springfield woman has since gotten a new job but remains uninsured. She is among several Illinois residents who hopes the federal Affordable Care Act makes the cost of health insurance more reasonable.

>> Despite ACA, some still will go uninsured — by choice
The Affordable Care Act mainly is designed to expand access to coverage, but not everyone will be covered.

>> ACA's contraception coverage in dispute
The requirement that most health insurance plans cover contraceptive drugs and sterilizations for women continues to be disputed by Catholic and other faith-based employers.

>> Health-care reform: What it means for your taxes
A look at the costs of the Affordable Care Act for different people, depending on income, martial status, family size and more.


>> Obamacare's Medicaid expansion comes with costs, benefits
Uninsured for years, Lafayette Johnson and Gail Knox have heard about the health-care law spearheaded by President Barack Obama. But they didn’t know the 2010 law could give them access to health-insurance coverage through Illinois’ Medicaid program. State officials know that many people in this new population know little to nothing about whether or how they will benefit.

>> ACA's Medicaid expansion potential boon for mental-health patients, providers
The regular treatment for mental illness that thousands of Springfield-area residents could receive through an expansion of Medicaid eligibility and other aspects of the Affordable Care Act would help them live better and more stable lives, mental-health experts say.


>> Insurance exchange key factor to Obamacare's success
The Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace will be one of the proving grounds of Obamacare in 2014 and beyond, and the system isn’t expected to work flawlessly the first year. The federal government has given Illinois almost $155 million to set up the marketplace, also known as a health-insurance exchange. An additional $70 million in federal funds will be spent in Illinois on marketing, promotion and consumer-assistance programs to help the public learn about and sign up for the exchange.


>> ACA's 'pay or play' not expected to be a big issue in 2014
The requirements and financial penalties in the Affordable Care Act could lead some employers, especially those with lower-wage work forces, to drop health insurance altogether, pay the penalties and send their workers into Illinois’ health-insurance exchange rather than play by the new rules.

>> Employers, insurers voice concerns about impact of Obamacare
Many people in Illinois were relieved when President Barack Obama’s administration delayed for a year the penalties that were going to be leveled in 2014 and beyond for certain employers not offering health insurance to their workers or for offering insurance that was deemed too expensive or inadequate. But many business leaders still question whether the penalties, known as the employer mandate, are needed at all.


>> Hospitals: Demand from new Obamacare patients won't be overwhelming
Doctors and hospital officials in the Springfield area don’t know how much pent-up demand for medical services will be unleashed by the Affordable Care Act in January and beyond, but they say newly insured patients shouldn’t have to deal with long lines. And officials say health care locally is changing so these patients and others will receive more efficient services.

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