Medicaid Chief Says Feds Are Willing To Approve Work Requirements

November 7, 2017, Kaiser Health News, Phil Galewitz- The Trump administration signaled Tuesday that it would allow states to impose work requirements on some adult Medicaid enrollees, a long-sought goal for conservatives that is strongly opposed by Democrats and advocates for the poor.“Let me be clear to everyone in this room: We will approve proposals that promote” employment or volunteer work, Seema Verma, the head of the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said in a speech to the nation’s state Medicaid directors. Such a decision would be a major departure from federal policy, and critics said it would lead to a court fight. President Barack Obama’s administration ruled repeatedly that work requirements were inconsistent with Medicaid’s mission of providing medical assistance to low-income people.

Work requirements coming to Medicaid?

November 6, 2017, Politico, Dan Diamond- CMS is developing guidance on how states could use waivers for work requirements in Medicaid, a proposal that would represent a major philosophical shift for the 52-year-old entitlement, POLITICO’s Rachana Pradhan reports.The guidance is expected to be outlined in a letter to state Medicaid directors, individuals with knowledge of the forthcoming proposal tell Rachana. Several GOP states have asked to link Medicaid benefits with employment or other job-related activities - but their requests have languished with federal officials.Trump’s top health officials have said they want work requirements.CMS administrator Seema Verma and others have previously defended the policy, saying that it’s necessary as Medicaid has expanded.

Obamacare vs. the Saboteurs

November 4, 2017, The New York Times, The Editorial Board- Despite the best efforts of the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress to destroy the Affordable Care Act, the law is not collapsing. And on Wednesday, Americans began signing up for health insurance policies for next year through the online exchanges created by that law.President Trump’s attempts at sabotage have clearly taken a toll on the A.C.A., or Obamacare. Experts say it is likely that one million to two million fewer people will choose health plans for 2018, compared with 2017. That’s because the administration has reduced the open enrollment period by half, to 45 days. And it has slashed spending on advertising and on health care navigators who help people sign up for insurance plans.

House passes bill to fund children’s insurance program

November 3, 2017, The Hill, Nathaniel Weixel- Legislation to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for five years passed the House on Friday over the objections of Democrats, who oppose how the legislation is paid for.The bill passed 242-174. It now heads to the Senate, where it is unlikely to get a floor vote, leaving lawmakers at an impasse.The Senate Finance Committee passed its own version of the legislation but has yet to agree on offsets to fund it.The House bill would charge higher premiums to wealthier Medicare beneficiaries, cut money from ObamaCare’s public health fund and shorten the grace period for ObamaCare enrollees who fail to make premium payments.

Survey reveals surprising mismatch between perception and reality of obesity in America

November 3, 2017, Los Angeles Times, Melissa Healy- Nearly 40% of American adults and 20% of children carry enough extra weight to warrant a diagnosis of obesity. That’s the highest obesity rate among the world’s affluent nations, and it’s already shortening Americans’ lifespans by driving up rates of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancers, arthritis and dementia.If that constitutes an urgent threat to the nation’s health, you’d scarcely know it from reading the results of a newly published survey called ACTION. The new poll paints a picture of obese adults who are clueless and feel utterly on their own when it comes to losing weight and of physicians who are often too busy, too embarrassed or too ill-equipped to help them.

Trump personally pushing GOP leaders to use tax bill to undermine Obamacare

November 3, 2017, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis and Damian Paletta- House Republicans grappled Friday with the difficulty of turning their new tax plan into law, making a change that would make the proposal’s tax cuts for individuals less generous and entertaining a controversial proposal from President Trump to use the tax bill to repeal a central element of the Affordable Care Act. Republicans changed the tax overhaul, which was announced Thursday, to cut $81 billion from the tax breaks it would provide to individual taxpayers. The move was made as lawmakers realized their initial effort would run up against the $1.5 trillion in total borrowing over a decade that Congress had authorized to finance the tax cut plan.