Parsing Policy: Time To Cut Out CHIP Funds, Tame Spending; Soaring Preliminary Figures For Obamacare Premiums Are Troubling
Opinion writers express views on these and other health topics.
The Wall Street Journal:
A Useful Spending Debate
Republicans in this Congress have failed to tame federal spending—on either entitlements or the discretionary accounts that won a big increase in this year’s omnibus bill. Perhaps they can now impose at least a little restraint on money that the government isn’t even spending. ...About half the package is a rescission to the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Every year Congress dedicates more money to the program than is spent, and appropriators pocket the rest to spend elsewhere. In 2016 Congress appropriated about $23 billion, including a contingency fund, but only spent a bit more than $14 billion. No child will lose health care. ...That won’t stop Democrats from claiming the worst, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wasted no time saying Republicans are “looking to tear apart” the program, “hurting middle-class families and low-income children.” Republicans have to call out the Democrats for wanting to keep these funds in reserve so they can spend it later on pork. (5/13)
The Washington Post:
This Is What A Death Spiral Looks Like
This is what the start of a death spiral looks like. Three states have announced preliminary 2019 premium-rate requests for Obamacare individual-market policies, and the numbers don’t look good.In Virginia, the first state out of the gate, insurers requested hikes as high as 64.3 percent. Across all insurers, and weighted for current enrollment, the average increase is likely to be “only” 13.4 percent , according to calculations from health-care analyst Charles Gaba. (Catherine Rampell, 5/14)
The New York Times:
Which Poor People Shouldn’t Have To Work For Aid?
Exhorted by President Trump, federal administrators and many Republican state officials are drafting rules requiring people to work in exchange for Medicaid, housing aid and food assistance. But what happens when the poor live where work is hard to find? In Michigan, the state’s Senate has passed a proposal that would exempt Medicaid recipients from a work requirement partly on the basis of geography — if they live in a county where unemployment exceeds 8.5 percent. (Emily Badger and Margot Sanger-Katz, 5/15)
New Orleans Times-Picayune:
Louisiana Nursing Home Residents Get Some Awful Mother's Day Mail
Those who are mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers would surely have preferred a card and a handwritten note of affection in the mail. But instead, just in time for Mothers's Day, tens of thousands of elderly or disabled residents in Louisiana were sent notices that their time in their nursing home might run out July 1. (Jarvis DeBerry, 5/12)
The Washington Post:
Maryland Took A Step To Protect Vulnerable, Young Lives. Other States Should Follow Suit.
With Gov. Larry Hogan's signature on a bill, Maryland last week joined Washington and New York as one of the few states requiring insurance companies to be more diligent before insuring the lives of children. Like those states, Maryland was spurred to act by a high-profile instance of a child killed for insurance money. It should not take the murder of a child to wake lawmakers to the need to act on this issue. Other states now should follow Maryland’s lead to protect vulnerable, young lives. (5/14)
Farm Bill Will Take Food From Hungry
Farmers in the Central Valley have been waiting for a federal farm bill that makes the investments that will ensure California’s agricultural industry continues to lead the nation, and the world. Unfortunately, the proposed bill moving through the U.S. House leaves behind the people who harvest, sort, sell, prepare and serve the Valley’s agricultural bounty. It would make it more difficult for millions of Californians, including working parents and many low-wage workers, to put food on the table by cutting their assistance through CalFresh. (Jared Call, 5/14)