CMS helps states with Medicaid work requirement waiver

March 14, 2019, Modern Healthcare, Robert King - A February report in the Los Angeles Times found that none of the states that were approved for a work requirement have a plan to track whether the enrollees got a job or improved their health-key requirements under the waiver program. So far in Arkansas more than 18,000 people have dropped from Medicaid coverage since the work rule went into effect last year. HHS Secretary Alex Azar told the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s health subcommittee on Tuesday that the agency doesn’t know why the people lost coverage but it is collecting data on the losses. But Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-Mass.) shot back at Azar that the president’s budget proposal released on Monday calls for all states to adopt mandatory Medicaid work rules. “You just said you are not sure why people are losing [coverage] yet you have now said you want to want to extend it to every single state,” he said. “What is the logic in that?”

Rural hospital closures, mother’s death: What you’re saying

March 14, 2019, The Clarion Ledger, Sarah Flower - Monday, the Clarion Ledger published an article about Shyteria “Shy” Shoemaker, a pregnant Houston mother who died in January after an asthma attack. As she drifted in and out of consciousness in the backseat of her cousin’s car, Shoemaker’s family was en route to the local emergency room when they were told by a 911 operator that there was no local ER. It closed in 2014.  By the time Shoemaker received medical care, an hour later in a neighboring county, it was too late.

How Trump wants to whack Medicare and Medicaid spending

March 13, 2019, CNN, Tami Luhby - When he first ran for president, Donald Trump blasted the Obama administration for hurting senior citizens by slashing billions from Medicare. Now, the tables have turned. Democrats are piling on Trump, accusing him of breaking his campaign promise not to touch the federal health care program for the elderly. The Trump administration unveiled a budget Monday that would reduce spending in Medicare as well as Medicaid, which provides coverage for low-income Americans, by hundreds of billions of dollars compared to current law.

Seema Verma: Medicaid reform rejected by Trump is ‘under review’

March 13, 2019, Politico, Zack Stanton - President Donald Trump last year shut down a push by several Republican governors and administration officials to allow states to offer a partial expansion of Medicaid, a change that would cover fewer Americans than required under the Affordable Care Act. Eight months later, the policy is now “under review,” said Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Rural ER’s closed, patients at risk

March 13, 2019, WJTV, DeAngelo Vaxter - Between 2010 and 2018 five hospitals closed and many more are at risk of shutting down. Mississippi is among the bottom for healthcare and treatments in America and the number of ER closures puts an added strain on health care. Mississippi ranks high with the number of individuals with obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some sexually transmitted diseases. With rural ER’s closing an immediate step towards correcting the issue is introducing preventative health care to those communities.

House Democrats Investigate Trump-Backed Short-Term Health Plans

March 13, 2019, Bloomberg, Anna Edney and Polly Mosendz - House Democrats sent letters to 12 insurance companies seeking information about health coverage they sell that critics refer to as “junk plans.” President Donald Trump’s administration last year expanded the availability of short-term, limited-duration health plans. Companies that received letters Wednesday from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone of New Jersey and other committee leaders include Anthem Inc., UnitedHealth Group Inc., Health Insurance Innovations Inc. and closely held Cambia Health Solutions. Health Insurance Innovations, an insurance brokerage that touts a cloud-based technology platform, saw its shares plunge 17 percent, giving it a market value of roughly $458 million. Anthem and UnitedHealth, who rank among the largest health insurers in the U.S., were each higher by more than 2 percent in afternoon trading.