ObamaCare enrollment dips just slightly after Trump cuts to promotion

April 4, 2018, The Hill, Peter Sullivan- ObamaCare signups dropped only slightly this year despite major cutbacks in outreach efforts, the Trump administration announced Tuesday. Officials said that 11.8 million people nationwide signed up for coverage in 2018, a slight drop from the 12.2 million who signed up last year. The administration cut advertising and outreach spending by 90 percent, in addition to cutting funds for outside groups that help people enroll. Supporters of the law, given that context, were heartened by the numbers.

Nearly 12 million people enrolled in 2018 health coverage under the ACA

April 3, 2018, The Washington Post, Amy Goldstein- A total of 11.8 million Americans signed up for Affordable Care Act health insurance for 2018, a drop of just 400,000 from the previous year despite widespread predictions that enrollment would plummet amid political and insurance industry turbulence surrounding the law. The final figures, released Tuesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, show that the proportion of first-time customers for this year dipped slightly, from 31 percent to 27 percent, while the high proportion qualifying for government subsidies that help consumers afford their insurance premiums stayed level at 83 percent. The enrollment total in the new federal report is identical to that from a compilation issued in February by an outside group, the National Academy for State Health Policy.

Mississippi’s most vulnerable could lose Medicaid benefits

April 3, 2018, The Clarion-Ledger, Linda Dixon Rigsby- The Mississippi Division of Medicaid recently asked the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for permission to take Medicaid coverage away from low-income parents unless they work 20 hours a week. Mississippi already has some of the lowest Medicaid eligibility levels in the nation. For example, parents and caretaker relatives are only eligible if they make less than 27 percent of the poverty line - approximately $468 a month for a family of three.  And Mississippi does not cover any non-disabled adults without children.

Maternal deaths are still on the increase

March 31, 2018, The Clarion-Ledger, Lynn Evans- One of the most important issues before the Mississippi Legislature that just ended was Medicaid reauthorization. With insufficient state revenues to meet all the state’s needs, the goal was to decrease Medicaid costs by means of better preventive care for Medicaid’s most vulnerable children and adults. In the end, lawmakers reached a compromise that included a direction to Medicaid and its managed care companies to “develop and implement innovative payment models that incentivize improvements in health care quality and outcomes.” There is one aspect of preventive care that legislators did not consider, even while other states around the nation were doing so. It turns out that being pregnant and giving birth in the United States, alone among developed nations, is becoming more dangerous and more deadly.

Mississippi AG asks Congress to expand Medicaid fraud, abuse investigative resources

April 2, 2018, The Clarion Ledger, Anna Wolfe-In December, a 24-year-old clinical assistance went to prison for having sex with a patient at a Hattiesburg health care facility. In October, a former direct care worker at a Pearl nursing home pleaded guilty to stealing several patients’ debit cards and one patient’s diamond ring. Two years ago, a Purvis man was convicted of sexual battery of a vulnerable person at a personal care home in Lamar County, where we worked as a maintenance worker. These cases were prosecuted by the Mississippi attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which receives 75 percent of its budget through federal funding and investigates cases of both improper Medicaid payments and abuse of patients in health care facilities.

Medicaid is a lifeline for nearly half of this county’s residents

March 27, 2018, CNN Money, Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News- Nearly a third of the 900,000 New Mexico beneficiaries joined as part of the Affordable Care Act’s option to expand MedicaidKaiser Health News is examining Medicaid’s role in the U.S. as the health care program comes under renewed fire from Republicans who generally want to put the brakes on it, even as many Democrats credit the expansion with reducing the number of uninsured Americans to historic lows. Conservatives view the costs as prohibitive for state and federal budgets.