There are No More ‘Bare’ Obamacare Counties in the Entire Country

Amanda Michelle Gomez

Amanda Michelle Gomez ThinkProgress

The Ohio Department of Insurance announced Thursday that CareSource will sell Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans in Paulding County, officially marking the end of the health law’s empty counties problem. Every person looking to buy coverage on the ACA marketplace in Ohio and nationwide will have at least one health insurance option.

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) has been tracking the state of counties that were at risk of having no insurer in 2018 at some point since February 2017. On Thursday afternoon, the map — once riddled with orange dots, to indicate no insurer participants — is now gray:

Credit: Kaiser Family Foundation

The current health law survived its latest immediate threat of bare counties, but with little assistance from the federal government. Bare counties have been largely filled due to tough negotiating between the state officials and insurance companies. Two companies, CareSource and Centene, covered 55 of the 82 counties that were once at risk of having no ACA coverage, according to KFF’s Cynthia Cox.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said Monday evening that “dozens of counties” across the country had no insurer on the marketplace. The remarks were false. At the time of his comments, only Paulding County, Ohio was without an insurer. The bare county problem has been a talking point among Republicans who say the health law is imploding. Obamacare is not imploding. There are valid concerns and criticisms; namely, the limited  insurers participation.

The ACA is also being undermined by the federal government. The president refuses to commit to subsidy payments to insurance companies and federal agencies have not been communicative about open enrollment strategy and marketing. The Trump administration has also been using Obamacare funds for a PR campaign against the health care law.

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Reposted from ThinkProgress

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work