Nurse practitioners ask for more authority to treat patients

December 20, 2017, Daily Journal, Bobby Harrison- House Medicaid Committee Chairman Chris Brown, R-Nettleton, said the goal during the 2018 session will be to consider legislation that will produce better health outcomes for Medicaid recipients while holding down costs. “Everything will be on the table,” said Brown on Tuesday afternoon after his second meeting this month looking at possible changes in the Division of Medicaid. The Division of Medicaid will have to be reauthorized during the 2018 session and legislators customarily consider major changes to the complex agency during the years when the reauthorization bill is addressed.

Mississippi improves on health emergency prep

December 20, 2017, Daily Journal, Michaela Gibson Morris- Mississippi checked off half the boxes on the health emergency preparedness report card, scoring ahead of many of its neighbors. “Even in these tough times of budget decreases, we are serving Mississippians with the highest level of knowledge and expertise,” said Liz Sharlot, communications director for the Mississippi State Department of Health. “MSDH is also proud of its work to support a culture of community reliance so that preparation and recovery from emergencies and disasters can be handled at the local level.”  Mississippi met five of the 10 benchmarks the Trust for America’s Health scored for its annual report, which was released Monday. The state scored ahead of Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana and even with Georgia and Tennessee.

Medicaid turnover: Gov. Bryant appoints deputy chief of staff interim director

December 20, 2017, Anna Wolfe, The Clarion-Ledger- Gov. Phil Bryant has chosen a temporary Medicaid director replacement following David Dzielak’s resignation last Friday. Bryant’s deputy chief of staff and Eupora native Drew Snyder will lead the largest agency in Mississippi as an interim. Snyder, who has a law background, is also Bryant’s policy director and counsel.The Mississippi Division of Medicaid has a federal budget larger than the entire state budget and provides health insurance to 760,000 Mississippians. “Drew has a firm grasp on the issues that affect Medicaid and the beneficiaries it serves. His intellect and demeanor make him the perfect choice to guide the agency during this period of transition. I am happy he has accepted this appointment,” Bryant said in a statement.

The stealth repeal of Obamacare

December 19, 2017, Politico, Joeanne Kenen- Obamacare survived the first year of President Donald Trump, but it’s badly damaged.The sweeping Republican tax bill on the verge of final passage would repeal the individual mandate in 2019, potentially taking millions of people out of the health insurance market. On top of that, the Trump
administration has killed some subsidies, halved the insurance enrollment period, gutted the Obamacare marketing campaign, and rolled out a regulatory red carpet for skimpy new health plans that will change the insurance landscape in ways that are harmful to former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. None of these individually represent a death blow. But in aggregate, the past year adds up to a slow, stealthy erosion of the law.

House Medicaid committee gathers feedback from providers

December 19, 2017, MS News Now, Courtney Ann Jackson- Medicaid costs the state millions of dollars every year. Meanwhile, it provides health care to nearly a quarter of Mississippians. Lawmakers will have the opportunity to re-evaluate the program this upcoming session. Both sides of the aisle seem to agree that they want to see the state make the best use of its Medicaid dollars.“The technical amendments bill is who qualifies for coverage and what coverage they’re offered as a beneficiary,” explained House Medicaid committee chairman Rep. Chris Brown.Tuesday’s Medicaid committee hearing focused on how to make those costs saving while also improving care. Here are some of the issues that were brought up within that discussion. First up, dentists say they’re nearly being pushed out of the program.

Sign-ups show Affordable Care Act’s staying power in Trump era

December 17, 2017, Associated Press, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar- A deadline burst of sign-ups after a tumultuous year for the Obama health law has revealed continued demand for the program’s subsidized individual health plans. But the Affordable Care Act’s troubles aren’t over. On the plus side for the overhaul, official numbers showed a sizable share of first-time customers, 36 percent, were among those rushing to finish applications in the run-up to Friday’s enrollment deadline.“People need health care, that is plain and simple,” said Kevin Watkins of Florence, Alabama. A self-employed consultant helping small businesses sell online, Watkins re-enrolled for 2018. He’ll pay under $100 a month after subsidies.