John Oliver hosts largest one-time TV giveaway - by forgiving $15 million in medical debt

June 6, 2016, VOX, German Lopez- Debt collectors make up one of the most reviled industries in America. The Federal Trade Commission says it gets more complaints about them than any other industry. Collectors often go after the debts of dead people or people who are in debt after getting lifesaving medical care. And often collectors use incredibly sleazy, horrifying tactics - like calling people’s homes and literally threatening to kill their dogs. On Last Week Tonight on Sunday, John Oliver demonstrated that anyone can be a debt collector - in a stunt that proved just how easy it is to start a debt collection agency and start harassing people for their money.

Facing budget ax, Louisiana hospitals welcome looming Medicaid expansion

July 1, 2016, Modern Healthcare, Harris Meyer- One of the nation’s poorest, least-insured and unhealthiest states is launching a major effort Wednesday to expand Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of low-income residents. Hospitals and other healthcare providers there say it can’t happen soon enough. Surprisingly, the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature is largely going along, in part because the big infusion of federal Medicaid money will ease the state’s dire budget problems. But the expansion still doesn’t solve the problem of a big budget shortfall that’s threatening the survival of some of the state’s nine formerly public safety net hospitals, an issue that may take lawmakers into a special legislative session this month

ZIKA! Medicaid will cover mosquito repellent

June 2, 2016, MS News Now, Marsha Thompson- The federal government has approved Medicaid to cover mosquito repellent, as concerns about the Zika virus are spreading globally. The Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called Microcephaly. This disease is already taking a heartbreaking toll, as the 3rd baby born with the disease in the U.S. has died.  Zika can be spread through sex from an infected partners and you may not even know that you are infected. Health and Human Services sent an informational letter to the Mississippi Medicaid division that said Medicaid services can help prevent, detect, and respond to the Zika virus.

Health insurance prices rose less on Obamacare exchanges than off them

June 2, 2016, CNBC, Dan Morgan- People who buy health insurance on government-run Obamacare exchanges tended to absorb significantly smaller price increases this year than customers who purchased plans sold outside of those marketplaces, according to a Commonwealth Fund report released Thursday. But to get those smaller price hikes, many Obamacare customers have plans that have strict limitations on where they can obtain covered health services.

Research finds ACA reduces racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare

June 1, 2016, Michigan Daily, Irene Park- A new University of Michigan research study shows how the Affordable Care Act has reduced racial and ethnic disparities in health insurance coverage. The ACA - signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010 - aims to lower the percentage of uninsured Americans and make healthcare more affordable and of higher quality. The ACA is projected to undergo numerous provisions until 2020. Currently, it is estimated that 29 million Americans (9.2 percent of the population) are without health insurance.

Louisiana begins enrolling 375,000 people into Medicaid

May 31, 2016,, Kevin Litten- Department of Health and Hospitals will begin the massive task Wednesday (June 1) of enrolling 375,000 people into the state’s expanded Medicaid program. The department’s goal is to get Medicaid insurance cards into the hands of more than half of the people eligible for the program by July 1. Ruth Kennedy, the DHH official who is leading enrollment efforts, said in an interview Tuesday that although the task of enrolling so many people into the federally funded Medicaid expansion sounds daunting, the department has taken an “all hands on deck approach.” She added that state officials have prepared for months to enroll Medicaid recipients, and workers are positioned across the state to aid in the effort.