Business Twenty Million More Americans Have Health Insurance Versus 2010

November 14, 2018, Bloomberg, Alexandre Tanzi- Fewer Americans lack health insurance. In the first six months of 2018, 28.5 million Americans were uninsured—20.1 million fewer than 2010, the year the Affordable Care Act was signed into law by then-President Barack Obama, according to data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among U.S. adults aged 18-64, about seven in 10 were covered by private health insurance plans in the first six months of 2018. Of this total, four percent or just under eight million people were covered by private health insurance plans obtained through the Health Insurance Marketplace or state-based exchanges.

Our Views: Louisiana’s example on Medicaid

November 13, 2018, The Advocate, Advocate Editoral- When Louisiana in 2016 joined the majority of states expanding Medicaid insurance coverage for the working poor, it turned out to be a good move for the state’s people and for its general fund, as almost all of the costs are picked up under the much-debated Obamacare law of 2010. Other “red” states politically are starting to take notice, and they don’t get much redder than Idaho.In advance of Tuesday’s election, Republican Gov. Butch Otter endorsed a ballot initiative that would expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. It won.The measure’s supporters said it would provide coverage for those making too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to qualify for subsidized health insurance through the state insurance exchange set up under provision of the Affordable Care Act.

Feds shut down ‘sham’ health insurance companies

November 12, 2018, Clarion Ledger, Bill Moak, Consumer Watch- Health care has become a big issue for many Americans over the past few years. As the costs of health care continue to rise, families without health insurance are looking for ways to afford those costs. That can make them vulnerable to companies that take their money without providing needed services. This week, the Federal Trade Commission requested that a federal judge shut down a Florida-based operation that it accused of collecting more than $100 million “by preying on Americans in search of health insurance, selling these consumers worthless plans that left tens of thousands of people uninsured.” In a news release, the FTC accused Simple Health Plans of “misleading customers into thinking they were buying comprehensive health insurance” but instead provided little in exchange for the $500-per- month cost. Many customers found themselves holding the bag for thousands in unreimbursed medical costs.

Medicaid expansion gets extra boost from governor races

November 10, 2018, The Hill, Nathaniel Weixel and Jessie Hellmann- Medicaid expansion advocates are looking to capitalize off their midterm victories by potentially adding Kansas and Wisconsin to their list of recent wins. Voters in three deep-red states voted to extend coverage to low-income adults, and those wins could spur expansion efforts next year in Wisconsin and Kansas, where Democratic candidates won governor’s races on Tuesday. “I think the midterms were great news on Medicaid and expansion,” said Patti Boozang, a consultant with Manatt Health. “It’s validation that people really want expansion in their state.” Boozang said lawmakers in non-expansion states are going to be hard-pressed to hold out in the future.

As rural hospitals close, where will older, poorer, sicker patients go for care?

November 9, 2018, The Clarion Ledger, Lynns Evans- Voters in three rural states - Utah, Idaho and Nebraska - approved ballot measures to expand Medicaid last week. Which should be good for their rural hospitals.There have been five hospital closings in Mississippi in the last five years. Four more hospitals were in the news this summer as up for sale or closure: Panola Medical Center in Batesville, Northwest Mississippi Medical Center in Clarksdale, Gilmore Memorial Hospital in Amory, and Magee General Hospital. The first three are threatened by the bankruptcy of Curae Health, their current owner. Mississippi’s rural hospitals are not alone in trying to stay afloat in the face of the massive changes in health care nationwide. In the past 30 years, 800 rural hospitals have closed in the U.S. - almost one in four. In the case of the three Curae hospitals, it that they were making money, just not enough to pay off the loans Curae used to buy the hospitals.

House Democrats weigh joining Obamacare suit

November 8, 2018, Politico, Alice Mirada Ollstein and Adam Cancryn- House Democrats are considering using their new majority to intervene in a lawsuit brought by 20 conservative state attorneys general that could abolish Obamacare.The move would come soon after the next Congress is sworn in and marks an early attempt to make good on campaign pledges to protect the Affordable Care Act, House sources told POLITICO. Bringing up a resolution to intervene in the case also would force an early vote that puts chamber’s Republicans on record about protecting the law and its popular preexisting condition protections.