Affordable Care Act

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Washington state's new health insurance exchange is open and ready for business on its second day of operation.

Computer problems closed the website for the health insurance marketplace for hours on Tuesday morning, its first day of operation.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Even as Congress squabbles over the fate of health care reform, Washington’s insurance marketplace opens its virtual doors Tuesday morning.

As Gov. Jay Inslee put it, "Despite the shenanigans in D.C., we're ready to [launch our health care exchange].”

Officials running the exchange said their federal grants have already been appropriated and they expect to be fully funded through next year.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

On the same day House Republicans voted to defund the Affordable Care Act, King County is making a big push to implement it. Volunteers went door-to-door and business-to-business across the county Friday.

Public health officials are trying to get uninsured King County residents to buy insurance on the state’s new exchange. Many of them have never had coverage before.


Seattle’s big dairy cooperative, Darigold, is once again facing worker unrest. The Teamsters have filed an unfair labor practice charge, saying the company walked out of negotiations with a mediator. 

Paul Beaty / AP Photo

The menu of choices on Washington’s new health insurance exchange now includes 43 different plans provided by eight companies.

Consumer choice will vary by county, but every county in the state will have at least two providers to choose from.

Grocery store workers in the Puget Sound region are stepping up pressure on their employers as they try to reach a contract deal. They’re staging informational pickets everywhere from Bremerton to Seattle, to Lynnwood this afternoon to get their message out to customers.

The menu of health insurance plans that will soon be offered to Washington consumers is still up in the air. The board overseeing the new health benefits exchange is holding out for more choices.

Washington’s insurance commissioner has approved four providers to offer 31 plans on Washington HealthPlanFinder, the new online marketplace for individuals that’s supposed to launch Oct. 1.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Washington consumers will know later this week what insurance plans they’ll have to choose from on the state’s new health exchange. Insurance companies face a Tuesday deadline to submit plans to the state.

Nine have applied so far to offer products on the Washington Healthplan Finder, the online marketplace where consumers can comparison-shop for coverage. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, requires those exchanges to be open for business by Oct. 1.

Associated Press

If the price tag for health insurance goes up under Obamacare, it’s likely to hit some policy holders in their 20s, economists have warned. Now that the first round of numbers are available in Washington state, we can see whether that’s the case.

If the price tag for health insurance goes up under Obamacare, it’s likely to hit some policy holders in their 20s, economists have warned. Now that the first round of numbers is available in Washington state, we can see whether that’s the case.

Health care is probably taking a bigger chunk out of your paycheck than it was a decade ago. The rising cost of insurance and deductibles has been dramatic whether you work for a small business or a large one.

The White House has released a picture of President Obama on the phone with Solicitor General Donald Verrilli in the Oval Office after hearing the health care news. Verrilli was the one who argued the case in front of the Supreme Court.

Here's the picture:

Obama looks rather relaxed. But both The New York Times and NBC News report that Obama, who received the news like most Americans, first thought his signature legislation had been declared unconstitutional.

In the wake of the Supreme Court's landmark decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, one of the burning questions is how will the decision play out politically?

President Obama even acknowledged the inevitability of the political maneuvering and handicapping in his comments from the White House soon after the high court delivered its decision. But he did stress that politics wasn't what really mattered in the end.

The Associated Press

Washington state is on a fast-track to providing discounted insurance for thousands of uninsured people by January 2014.

The Supreme Court has upheld the individual insurance requirement at the heart of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

The court on Thursday handed Obama a campaign-season victory in rejecting arguments that Congress went too far in requiring most Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty.

The court found problems with the law's expansion of Medicaid. But even there, it said the expansion could proceed as long as the federal government does not threaten to withhold the entire Medicaid allotment to states if they don't take part in the extension.

The court's four liberal justices, Stephen Bryer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, joined Roberts in the outcome.

“We are in a very good position, because we have already received the federal funds to not only build our health-care exchange, or marketplace, but to operate it for the first year,” says State Sen. Karen Keiser (D), Kent, who chairs a key senate health committee.

The Associated Press

As potentially millions of people collectively held their breath, again, Monday morning waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the fate of Obama’s health care reform, one of the many questions lingering in the air is will the justices keep their politics out of the decision? (Update: The court did not issue its ruling Monday and will likely do so on Thursday.)

And, we must also wonder: Will Americans keep their politics out of their assessments of whatever the court decides, when it does? (Warning, this is a “Take our survey” story … see below.)

A Supreme Court ruling on President Obama’s health care law could force Washington state lawmakers to shift gears. They want to prevent a repeat of the 1990's, when the insurance market "went over a cliff," says the state Insurance Commissioner.

That could force them to require state residents to have health insurance. But, their first choice to prevent a health-care "disaster," say Democrats, is to rely on federal subsidies to keep insurance affordable.

The Associated Press

The U.S. Supreme Court’s health-care hearings have put a spotlight on Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna and his decision to join 25 other states in suing the Obama Administration. 

McKenna, a Republican, has said repeatedly for the last two years that he’s not necessarily against all of the Affordable Care Act. KPLU talked to McKenna about how he can support much of the law, but still try to overturn it.

Peninsula Daily News

A central character in what could be the most important U.S. Supreme Court case of this generation happens to live in Port Angeles, Wash. – and he’s not talking to reporters.

Kaj Ahlburg, commonly referred to as “a retired investment banker,” is the lead plaintiff suing the Obama Administration over the 2010 health care law called the Affordable Care Act. While he has been mum about his case in the High Court, he's had plenty to say in his home community.

Photo courtesy of HealthPoint

Health clinics that cater to low-income people have been expanding.