ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
69°
Partly Cloudy
H 83° L 59°
  • cloudy-day
    69°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 83° L 59°
  • cloudy-day
    83°
    Today
    Partly Cloudy. H 83° L 59°
  • cloudy-day
    80°
    Tomorrow
    Mostly Cloudy. H 80° L 61°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

National Govt & Politics
Trump Administration opens door to less comprehensive health insurance plans
Close

Trump Administration opens door to less comprehensive health insurance plans

Trump Administration opens door to less comprehensive health insurance plans
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Trump Administration opens door to less comprehensive health insurance plans

Moving to make changes in the Obama health law, the Trump Administration issued a new rule on Wednesday which will permit consumers to buy limited health insurance plans that don't meet all the coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act, but might be more attractive to individuals who would like the opportunity to pay lower premiums for a policy that offers less comprehensive health care coverage.

"President Trump is bringing more affordable insurance options back to the market," said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, as the White House flexed its administrative muscles to continue to grind away at the Obama health law.

"These plans aren’t for everyone, but they can provide a much more affordable option for millions of the forgotten men and women left out by the current system," Azar added, as the White House tries to make some health care system changes, after watching the GOP Congress fail in the efforts to repeal the Obama health system.

"Short term, limited-duration health plans will help millions of Americans who were shut out of insurance markets due to Obamacare," the White House said.

"Americans trapped under rapidly escalating health care costs are desperate for more affordable alternatives," said Freedom Partners Executive Vice President Nathan Nascimento, as conservative groups hailed the move.

While the plan has the strong support of President Trump, GOP lawmakers, and outside groups, ultimately, it will be up to individual states to determine whether these type of short-term health insurance plans will be allowed for sale, and how they are structured for consumers, which could lead to very different health insurance choices across the country.

"As insurance markets vary greatly state-to-state, it is critical we have maximum flexibility to address the needs of our markets while maintaining consumer protections," said Tennessee Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak, who heads the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

For example, short-term health coverage plans are not allowed for sale in New Jersey. Michigan doesn't allow short-term insurance plans for more than 185 days. Oregon has a 3 month limit on such coverage. And states have different rules on what must be covered under those plans.

Whatever those final details in various states, under this rule released on Wednesday, states will be allowed to approve for sale health insurance plans that are less expensive, but also offer less coverage.

"The short-term plans the Trump administration is expanding can deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, do not have to cover the ACA's essential benefits, and can cap coverage on an annual basis," said Larry Levitt, with the Kaiser Family Foundation.

"We reviewed short-term insurance plans on the market and found they often don't cover maternity, prescription drugs, substance abuse, or mental health," Levitt wrote on Twitter.

Critics said the reappearance of these more limited health care plans goes against the exact goal of the Obama health law, which was to make sure that consumers had coverage for all medical possibilities, not just what was in the fine print.

"What a sick way to run a health system," said Andy Slavitt, who was at one point in charge of implementing the Obama health law.

Democrats in the Congress denounced the move, labeling these plans 'junk' insurance.

"The Trump Administration is, once again, sabotaging our health care system with these plans," said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).

"No one should be fooled into buying one of these junk plans thinking that it will protect them and their family," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).

"These plans are the Trump University equivalent of health insurance," said Topher Spiro, a Democratic Party health activist.

Read More

News

  • An Arkansas woman was convicted Tuesday in the shooting death of her husband last summer after finding he had ordered a pornography channel … again. >> Read more trending news  Patricia Hill, 69, was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Frank Hill, 65, last July in his shed, or “man cave,” behind the couple’s home in Pine Bluff, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Hill reportedly flew into rage after finding a charge on the couple’s cable bill for a porn channel after canceling a similar subscription a month earlier, the newspaper reported. Her attorney, Bill James, said Hill’s rage made her incapable of recognizing her actions the day of the murder. >> Trending: Shark attacks 65-year-old tourist paddle boarding in Hawaii in third attack there this year James said Hill was suffering from years of neglect and humiliation at the hands of her husband of 17 years and also had depression. A psychologist testified Hill was incapable of knowing right from wrong, the Gazette reported. Hill, who was originally charged with capital murder, is facing a sentence of up to 45 years in prison.  
  • A 65-year-old California woman is in stable condition after she was attacked by a shark Tuesday morning while paddle boarding off the island of Hawaii, according to news reports. >> Read more trending news  The attack happened in South Kohala as the woman from Glendale paddled several hundred yards offshore in Anaehoomalu Bay, CNN reported. She made it to shore after she was bitten on her right upper thigh and airlifted to North Hawaii Community Hospital. A spokesman for the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources told CNN the woman was bitten by a 5-foot blacktip reef shark, which left a wound about 12 inches in diameter. Spokesman Dan Denison said the attack was highly unusual and there’s “no record of this shark species biting anyone in Hawaii.” >> Trending: Opossum found living in 7-year-old’s bedroom for 3 days before parents find it  This was the third shark attack in Hawaii so far this year. No one has died in a shark attack in Hawaii since 2015.
  • A 26-year-old Vermont man has been arrested for his role in multiple hit-and-run crashes and driving drunk, New Hampshire State Police say.  >> Read more trending news On Tuesday afternoon, troopers in New Hampshire received several reports of a car driving erratically on I-93 northbound between Concord and New Hampton. The driver of a 2015 Hyundai Sonata was reportedly weaving lane to lane, tailgating, and passing in the breakdown lane.  Soon after, a trooper saw the car driving erratically in Holderness and pulled him over in Campton. The trooper then learned this vehicle had also struck two vehicles, causing heavy damage, and had left the scene of both collisions.  The driver, 26-year-old Robert Harris of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, did field sobriety tests and was then arrested and charged with DWI-subsequent, conduct after an accident, reckless driving and resisting arrest or detention for fighting with the trooper during the booking process. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone who may have witnessed these incidents is asked to call New Hampshire State Police at (603) 223-8767.
  • A potentially deadly insect that bites people around the mouth is making its way farther north from South and Central America. >> Read more trending news    Doctors call the insect, known as triatoma sanguisuga and nicknamed the 'kissing bug,' a silent killer.  Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said while the bug sucks your blood, it defecates, which leaves behind a parasite that can lead to the potentially deadly chagas disease.  Last year, the CDC warned the bugs were on the move and had been spotted as far north as Delaware, Pennsylvania, Marilyn and North and South Carolina.  >> Related: Dangerous ‘kissing bug' illness spreading across Southern U.S. Doctors said symptoms typically include severe redness and itching, but can be as serious as irregular heartbeats that can cause sudden death, problems with digestion, and an increased chance of having a stroke.  They also said, after a couple days, you may not feel anything unusual for years.  Officials said most people only experience minor symptoms. >> Related: ‘Kissing bug' native to NC; little cause for concern, experts say The CDC said homeowners should remove trash, wood, and rock piles from around their home and clear out any bird or animal nests. 
  • The story of a dog with Memphis Animal Services that became viral sensation now has a happy ending. >> Read more trending news Oliver is a stray who loves food and treats. In fact, he loves food so much that he became attached to his bowl at MAS. Oliver's story went viral when it was posted on Facebook by a group named Wilson, Rosie, and Pickle Pete. The post was shared more than 9,000 times and got international attention. Oliver was at risk of being euthanized, but his story led to an outpouring of support. It was even picked up by TheDodo.com. The outlet detailed his journey and his eventual adoption on April 16. In case you're wondering, Oliver got to his new bowl with him.
  • The Boy Scouts of America could be hit with more sex abuse claims after new court documents were released Tuesday related to a sex abuse case in Minnesota.  >> Read more trending news  The documents, released by a firm that represents sex abuse victims, reveal there may have been as many as 7,800 Boy Scout troop leaders and volunteers who allegedly sexually abused more than 12,000 victims. That's four times what the organization revealed more than a decade ago. In Georgia, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) sex abuse cases have taken center stage on debates over how the state should handle childhood sex abuse claims.  Now, local attorneys want to get their hands on details that will help support their cases.  Atlanta-based attorneys Natalie Woodward and Darren Penn represent nearly two dozen Boy Scout sex abuse cases in Georgia since 2012.  'We're talking about decades and decades and decades and decades of conduct that was literally concealed,' Penn said. >> Trending: Shark attacks 65-year-old tourist kayaking in Hawaii in third attack there this year Woodward and Penn learned this week that there are reportedly more than 100 documented cases of abuse in Georgia, and thousands of pedophile Boy Scout leaders nationwide have been reported from the early 1940s to 2016. That's four times the number previously reported by the organization. 'Every one of those perpetrators, they represent, most often, more than one child,' Woodward said. 'That's the part I think that will shake anybody to their core to hear that. And then to think it took until 2019 to get into the open.' The new allegations came this week from a New York law firm that revealed names tied to cases in the Northern District of New York The testimony came from an auditor who was hired by the BSA during an unrelated child rape case.  >> Trending: Baby rhino alert: Zoo Miami welcomes birth of rare, endangered baby rhino 'This is information coming from a Boy Scouts representative. This isn't even information that a third party or an independent group has been able to look over these files,' Woodward said. 'We're still hearing about it from them and we're yet to see the documents ourselves.' Penn said that, although he's glad the allegations are coming out now, it's way too late.  'I think what they owe and what they ought to be stepping up to the plate right now is: What do we do for all of the victims that have been created over all these years?' Penn said.  Carr learned that the Boy Scouts of America is moving to dismiss the Georgia cases in the Cobb County and Athens. The organization released a statement in response to the allegations saying: 'We care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. We believe victims, we support them, and we have paid for unlimited counseling by a provider of their choice. Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in Scouting and we are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to abuse innocent children.  'Throughout our history, we have enacted strong youth protection policies to prevent future abuse, including mandatory youth protection trainings and a formal leader-selection process that includes criminal background checks. Since the 1920s, we have maintained a Volunteer Screening Database to prevent individuals accused of abuse or inappropriate conduct from joining or re-entering our programs, a practice recommended in 2007 by the Centers for Disease Control for all youth-serving organizations.  'At no time have we ever knowingly allowed a perpetrator to work with youth, and we mandate that all leaders, volunteers and staff members nationwide immediately report any abuse allegation to law enforcement.' >> Trending: Popular gym offers free workouts for teens this summer  'Scouting programs today are safe,' said Erin Eisner, a chief strategy officer for the BSA and the mother of two Scouts. 'If I felt for a second that scouting was unsafe, I would not be associated with nor advocate for the BSA.' The Associated Press contributed to this report.