Stories by Caitlin Owens

ACA lawsuit also threatens protections in employer coverage

Protestors in Miami, Florida
Protestors in Miami, Florida. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Texas' lawsuit over the Affordable Care Act could roll back protections for pre-existing conditions even among people who don't get their coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

Why it matters: These protections are the most popular part of the ACA, and have led to a lot of sick people getting coverage. Millions of people could lose all or part of that security if this lawsuit succeeds.

Why ending surprise medical bills is harder than it looks

Illustration of rope lassoing a hospital bill.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Staggering surprise medical bills are finally getting some scrutiny from policymakers. But to take patients off the hook for those bills, the money has to come from somewhere else — usually from higher insurance premiums or out of doctors’ bottom lines.

The big picture: Getting an unexpected bill for thousands of dollars is a gut-level problem. Yet that problem is a product of the health care system’s complexity, and every potential solution runs into roadblocks from an industry that wants to protect its profits, or skepticism from policy experts or political opposition.

In California's blue utopia, liberal health care dreams stagnate

California Gov. Jerry Brown
California Gov. Jerry Brown. Photo: Stephen Lam/Getty Images

Even in California, one of the nation's most liberal states, industry pressure and moderate lawmakers have stymied ambitious efforts to control health care costs.

Why it matters: As the national Democratic Party swings left on health care, California shows that even with strong liberal majorities, it's still an uphill battle to successfully chip away at the health care industry's bottom line.