Medicaid expansion hits Deep South

June 18, 2016, Modern Healthcare, Harris Meyer- Joshua Guillory, 32, dropped his Obamacare health plan in January after losing his oil plant job. He couldn’t afford the premiums any longer. He still needed treatment, though, for recently diagnosed sleep apnea and the pain from long-standing nerve damage in his leg. He also suffers from obesity and high blood pressure. After his father told him that he might qualify for Medicaid under Louisiana’s newly expanded program, he met with enrollment counselor Tama Stears at the Southwest Louisiana Primary Health Care Center, a federally qualified community health center here.

White House urges states to resist ObamaCare hikes

June 15, 2016, The Hill, Sarah Ferris- The White House is urging states to be more aggressive against health insurance companies as it looks to prevent expected and widespread premium hikes of 10 percent or more this year. The federal health department announced Wednesday that it will dole out about $22 million to boost state-level “rate reviews,” considered one of the strongest weapons against premium increases.  Under the system, health insurers are required to justify rate increases to state insurance departments, some of which have the power to reject “unreasonable” increases.

Blog: Louisiana Gov. Edwards tells how he won the Medicaid expansion battle

June 15, 2016, Modern Healthcare, Harris Meyer- If Hillary Clinton and the Democrats win the November elections, four or five more Southern states will expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act next year, Louisiana’s new Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tuesday. “If it becomes obvious the Affordable Care Act won’t be repealed, a number of states will opt into the expansion fairly quickly,” he said. Edwards said his executive order in January to extend Medicaid to low-income adults was “the easiest big decision I’ll ever make” given the state’s large uninsured population, poor health status, budget problems and the burden of uncompensated care on healthcare providers

Kansas Medicaid decisions could close hospitals, raise costs for privately insured

June 14, 2016, The Witchita Eagle, Gabriella Dunn- Some say the state’s decision to not expand Medicaid and Gov. Sam Brownback’s 4 percent cut to Medicaid reimbursement rates could contribute to more rural hospitals closing and could lead to more expensive health care for those who do have insurance. “This decision to make these cuts is really a decision to balance the budget on the shoulders of providers and patients around the state,” said Cindy Samuelson, vice president for public relations at the Kansas Hospital Association.

It Doesn’t Matter That UnitedHealth Is Ditching Obamacare

June 13, 2016, Forbes, Noah Lang- Earlier this month, UnitedHealth Group UNH +0.68% announced it will pull out of most Obamacare exchanges in 2017 because of anticipated losses of $650 million on its exchange business this year. (Let’s not feel too sorry for UnitedHealth, since they brought in $11 billion in profits in 2015). So, what should we make of this announcement? Just because UnitedHealth hasn’t been successful in the individual market doesn’t mean the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has failed. Even as the CEO of a company fighting to provide healthcare and coverage to self-employed Americans, I don’t care that UnitedHealth is exiting the exchanges. Here’s why.

Study: Mississippi life expectancy varies by county

June 9, 2016, The Clarion Ledger, Sarah Fowler- Depending on where someone is born in Mississippi, a person’s life expectancy can vary by up to eight years. Children born in Sunflower County, for example, have a life expectancy of 71 years. Two counties away, babies born in Carroll County are expected to live to age 77, according to data released by Virginia Commonwealth University. Derek Chapman, associate director of research for VCU Center on Society and Health, said while health plays an obvious role in life expectancy, there are contributing factors beneath the surface.