obamacare

Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange is opening a temporary walk in center in Warwick today. Open enrollment on HealthSource RI ends this month.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island hospitals posted a nearly $59 million dollar operating loss in 2013. That’s just one aspect of a troubling economic picture emerging in a new report on the state of the state’s hospitals.

A new analysis out from the US Health and Human Services agency estimates that about 17,000 uninsured Latinos in Rhode Island may qualify for assistance buying a health insurance plan on HealthSource RI or for Medicaid. That's out of RI's total Latino population of about 112,000. Both seem like sizeable numbers for a state of only about a million.

file / RIPR

Rhode Island’s online health insurance exchange has nearly doubled enrollment numbers since January. The news comes as the deadline for individuals to get covered is less than two weeks away.

More than 16,000 Rhode Islanders have enrolled in health insurance plans on HealthSource RI as of this past weekend. That’s up from 9800 at the beginning of January.  HealthSource RI says most enrollees have qualified for some kind of help paying for those plans – a reduced monthly premium and assistance with co-pays and deductibles.

Associated Press / University of Minnesota, State Health Access Data Assistance Center

A new analysis of some of the most recent census data for the Associated Press by the University of Minnesota's State Health Access Data Assistance Center finds that half the nation's uninsured people under age 65 live in just 116 of the nation's 3143 counties.

Providence County, RI is one of those, as you can see on this map here.

More than 15% of the county's 500,000 or so citizens are uninsured, according to the analysis.

Al Tomkins / Poynter

I just returned from a seminar for reporters on covering what may come next for the Affordable Care Act. One of the last sessions was a talk by prominent bioethicist Art Caplan, new head of the NYU Langone Medical Center's Division of Medical Ethics (you can read more his illustrious career here).

RIPR FILE

Political pundits love to emphasize that campaigns matter.  Clay Pell better hope that adage rings true if he hopes to be Rhode Island’s next governor, says our resident pundit, RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay.

Herbert Claiborne `Clay’ Pell  IV is the grandson of a legendary Rhode Island U.S. Senator, a Harvard University graduate  and at just 32 years old, possessor of a resume that would be the envy of many a decade or two older.

Here's a sampling of headlines from the past two days about the latest Obamacare exchange enrollment numbers (thanks to Kaiser Health News for rounding these up):

Rhue Reis, a contractor from Saunderstown, plans to announce a Republican challenge to Congressman Jim Langevin on January 23.

Reis, a first-time candidate, outlines some of his issue stances on his Web site. He says Obamacare became law because Congress was "sold a bill of goods on false pretenses." Ress favors returning the power of the federal government "to what I believe the Founders envisioned it to be" and says the Second Amendment should "never be diminished."

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The new year marks the start of Governor Lincoln Chafee's final year in office. That's because he announced last year he wouldn't seek re-election. The Republican-turned-independent-turned Democrat has faced low public approval ratings since narrowly winning a four-way race for governor in 2010. Yet as part of this wide-ranging interview, Chafee asserts he'll leave a positive legacy for the state.

Some of the lowest-income Rhode Islanders may be losing their health insurance coverage or paying a bit more for it by the end of this month.

Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange reports that more than 9800 Rhode Islanders have signed up for health coverage with private insurance plans to date. And while you might have missed the deadline to get covered as of January 1st, enrollment remains open through March 31st.

File photo / RIPR

The Political Roundtable crew looks back at the top political stories of the year, including the race governor; the implementation of Obamacare in Rhode Island; the Ocean State's persistently high unemployment; and the emerging legacy of Lincoln Chafee.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for a weekly business segment we're calling "The Bottom Line." Each Friday they look at business news and themes that affect local business and the public.

This week Dave and Mark talk with HealthSource RI Director Christine Ferguson. They take a look at the response of small businesses in the state to the new health insurance marketplace and separating Rhode Island’s health exchange from the problems at the federal level.

When to Listen

Flo Jonic / RIPR

A couple of deadlines tied to Obamacare are coming up. One of them for people signing up for coverage that starts January first … that deadline is the day before, December 31st.

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