As ACA enrollment nears, administration keeps cutting federal support of the law

October 5, 2017, The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin- HHS has told its regional administrators not to even meet with on-the-ground organizations about enrollment. The late decision, which department spokesman Matt Lloyd said was made because such groups organize and implement events “with their own agenda,” left leaders of grass-roots organizations feeling stranded.“I don’t think it’s too much to ask the agency tasked with outreach and enrollment to be involved with that,” said Roy Mitchell, executive director of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program, which receives no federal funding for its ACA efforts. “There’s money for HHS to fly around on private jets, but there’s not money and resources to do outreach in Mississippi.”

Ex-Obama officials begin health insurance sign-up campaign

October 4, 2017, Associated Press, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar- Former Obama administration officials are undertaking a private campaign to encourage people to sign up for coverage next year under the Affordable Care Act. With the start of open enrollment on Nov. 1, the Trump administration has slashed the Obama health law’s ad budget, as well as grants to outside organizations that are supposed to help people sign up. Although Republican attempts to repeal the law have proven futile so far, President Donald Trump hasn’t changed his view that the program is a “disaster.” The former Obama officials said their campaign, set to begin Wednesday, will focus on young adults and try to encourage people to sign up for government-backed private health insurance because of subsidies available to cushion the impact of rising premiums.

Why are so many pediatricians leaving UMMC?

October 4, 2017, The Clarion-Ledger, Anna Wolfe- Dr. Omar Abdul-Rahman, former vice chairman of faculty development for University of Mississippi Medical Center’s pediatric department, planned to spend his entire career in Jackson. He was born at UMMC and went there for medical school. He had just finished building a house. Two months ago, he left the hospital, where he worked in genetics, and moved out of state.
Abdul-Rahman said his departure is part of a mass exodus of paediatricians and other physicians leaving UMMC in recent months - the result, he says, of poor leadership and budget cuts. He’s one of 22 pediatric doctors and another four specialists from other departments who work with children who have left since July 2016.

80,000 Mississippi children to lose health insurance in April

October 2, 2017, Daily Journal, Larrison Campbell- U.S. Congress allowed funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program to expire on Saturday, leaving nearly 80,000 Mississippi children uninsured by end of April. Nationally, 9 million children are now projected to lose their health insurance in fiscal year 2018. Funding for the program, which was last reauthorized in 2015, was due to be renewed by Sept. 30. When that date passed without action from either the Senate or the House, the funding expired. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-MS, voted for the legislation that created the program in 1997. A spokesperson for his office said the senator continues to support the program. “Senator Cochran expects Congress to act soon to reauthorize the program, which is important to many families in Mississippi, before the state exhausts its CHIP funding,” said Chris Gallegos.

States rush to preserve children’s health coverage

October 2, 2017, Politico, Brianna Ehley- States are scrambling to shore up the government health insurance program that covers 9 million low-income kids after Congress failed to meet the deadline to renew its funding over the weekend. A number of state officials are looking for ways to keep their programs afloat, hoping Congress will approve money for the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program before they have to cut off coverage. Despite bipartisan agreement to continue the program, lawmakers missed a Sept. 30 deadline to renew funding. Many say they still have time to get money to states, despite progressive groups decrying over the weekend that Republicans allowed the program to “expire.”

Leading doctors group calls for automatic weapons ban after Las Vegas shooting

October 2, 2017, The Hill, Brandon Carter- The American College of Physicians issued a statement Monday labeling mass shootings a “serious public health issue” and calling for a ban on automatic and semiautomatic weapons in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. “We must acknowledge that lack of a U.S. policy to address gun violence is the reason we have much higher rates of injuries and deaths from firearms violence than other countries,” the group said in a statement. Specifically, we call for a ban on the sale and ownership of automatic and semiautomatic weapons. The organization said mass shootings in American “have become frequent and even commonplace,” adding “something needs to change.” “In light of the rising number of mass shootings, this is a serious public health issue that needs to be addressed immediately by Congress,” the group said.