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Latest Kaiser Health News Stories

HHS Opens Public Comments For Virginia’s Work Requirements Waiver

KHN Morning Briefing

Since the Trump administration has approved work requirements in Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, New Hampshire and Wisconsin, it’s likely that Virginia’s will also get the green light. Medicaid news comes out of Ohio and Texas, as well.

Medicaid Officials Allow N.H. To Implement The Latest Work Requirement For Some Beneficiaries

KHN Morning Briefing

The federal waiver requires many adults who have joined Medicaid through the health law’s expansion to report at least 100 hours per month of work, job training, education or volunteer activities. The requirement in other states has been 80 hours. In Florida, some advocates are concerned about a change to the look-back period that applies to coverage for new Medicaid members.

Wisconsin Lawmakers Vote To Enact Medicaid Work Requirements In Lame-Duck Session

KHN Morning Briefing

The state lawmakers passed an extensive package of bills as they seek to rack up wins before Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers and Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul take up their positions in a few weeks. Meanwhile, in Kansas, Gov.-elect Laura Kelly, a Democrat, says she wants to roll back a work requirement and other cash assistance rules for government aid.

Conservative Group Projects That Adding Medicaid Work Requirements Will Increase Beneficiaries’ Lifetime Earnings

KHN Morning Briefing

The group argued that expanding Medicaid to low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act has had the unintended consequence of causing healthy, single adults to leave the labor force or reduce their work hours to keep or qualify for Medicaid benefits. Meanwhile, a left-leaning think tank warns that millions of children could lose health insurance because of the “public charge” policy.

Baltimore Files First-In-Nation Suit Against Trump’s ‘Public Charge’ Policy, Citing Chilling Effect Its Had On City’s Immigrants

KHN Morning Briefing

Because of the policy that expands the definition of public charge to immigrants receiving government aid, legal residents have stopped using school programs, food subsidies, housing vouchers and health clinics for which they are eligible, the city’s lawsuit says. It hurts Baltimore’s mission to welcome immigrants and increases long-term expenses as Baltimore deals with a sicker and less-educated community, according to officials.

CMS Will Be ‘Looking Closely’ At Why So Many Have Been Dropped Off Arkansas’ Medicaid Rolls For Failing To Report Work Hours

KHN Morning Briefing

But CMS Administrator Seema Verma says there’s no plan to slow implementation of the work requirement rules. Since June, more than 12,000 beneficiaries in Arkansas have lost their Medicaid coverage, and thousands more are poised to be dropped next month. Verma thinks it’s “very possible” that people left Medicaid coverage because they found a job or “decided that they didn’t want coverage.” Other Medicaid news comes out of Maine, Kentucky, Georgia and Minnesota.

Privatizing Medicaid Program Only Saved Iowa About Half Of What Had Been Projected

KHN Morning Briefing

When Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s administration changed the system for overseeing health care for more than 600,000 poor and disabled Iowans, he projected it would produce $232 million in savings. A report by the outgoing Republican state auditor found that only $126 million has been saved. Meanwhile, Democrats, who are troubled by what they see as deteriorating care under the new system, question if the state really saved anything. Medicaid news comes out of Virginia, Tennessee and Kansas, as well.

Kentucky’s Medicaid Work Requirements Approved Once Again By Trump Administration

KHN Morning Briefing

Earlier this year, a federal judge blocked Kentucky’s work requirements waiver ruling the government did not adequately consider how the plan would impact people who receive coverage. The judge’s ruling restarted the application process, which was completed Tuesday. Work requirement proposals have drawn criticism as advocates worry poor families will lose their health care. In Arkansas, thousands have been dropped from the Medicaid rolls in the months since the rules were enacted.

As Part Of Push To Treat ‘Whole Person,’ Hospitals May Be Able To Use Medicaid Funds To Pay For Patients’ Housing, Food

KHN Morning Briefing

“What if we gave organizations more flexibility so they could pay a beneficiary’s rent if they were in unstable housing, or make sure that a diabetic had access to, and could afford, nutritious food?” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said. The proposals are part of a broader strategy in health care to address social determinants that impact patients’ wellbeing. Meanwhile, Medicaid programs are a driving force behind rising state spending.

With Congressional Gridlock Expected For Foreseeable Future, Look To States For Health Care Action

KHN Morning Briefing

While Medicaid expansion was the big winner in the midterms, states have been taking up the reins on other issues such as prescription drug prices, as well. With a split Congress, that might be where most of the movement is in the next two year. Meanwhile, Gov.-elect Laura Kelly’s decisive five-point win in Kansas has made longtime Medicaid expansion advocates optimistic that they can get it signed into law during the 2019 legislative session after years of opposition from Kelly’s Republican predecessors. News comes out of Louisiana, as well.

Although Medicaid Wasn’t On Ballot In Kansas And Wisconsin, New Governors Give Democrats Hope For More Victories

KHN Morning Briefing

Kansas Gov.-elect Laura Kelly and Wisconsin Gov.-elect Tony Evers, both Democrats who flipped seats from Republicans, vowed in their campaigns to expand Medicaid coverage. They might be aided by the momentum of ballot success in other states, but they do face headwinds in their legislatures. News on Medicaid comes out of North Carolina and Florida, as well.

How Did Progressive Measures Like Medicaid Expansion Pass In Deeply Red States? Strip Away The Partisan Labels

KHN Morning Briefing

This election delivered wins on more liberal ballot measures even in states where voters elected politicians with deeply conservative views. The dissonance could show a way forward for advocates looking to focus on policy rather than politics. “Americans want everyone to make a living wage and be able to go to the doctor when they got sick,” said Jonathan Schleifer, executive director of the Fairness Project. “Ballot initiatives shows there’s an agenda that can bring people together across party lines.”

Medicaid To See Biggest Enrollment Bump Since Health Law Allowed Expansion In 2014 With Nearly 800K More Eligible

KHN Morning Briefing

Approved ballot measures in red states Idaho, Nebraska and Utah were successful in circumventing the states’ legislatures, which have blocked Medicaid expansion. Those three states will join Virginia, which approved expansion last spring, and Maine, where voters approved an expansion last year that has been blocked by Republican Gov. Paul LePage. The incoming Democratic governor, Janet Mills, says she will let the measure go forward. In all, nearly 800,000 people could be newly eligible for the program across the five states.