Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Health Law Marketplaces Provide Ready-Made Infrastructure For Influx Of Uninsured Americans. But Will Trump Support Them?

KHN Morning Briefing

The Trump administration seems to be doing little to let Americans know they can sign up for health insurance through the exchanges if they lost their jobs because of the pandemic. Meanwhile, some states take steps to help people get on Medicaid during this tumultuous time. But in states where the program hasn’t been extended, Americans are struggling.

Advocates Say Detained Immigrants Lack Protective Gear, Cleaning Supplies And Space To Allow Social Distancing

KHN Morning Briefing

The government has started to lower the number of detainees being held, but advocates and lawyers say that not enough is being done to protect the vulnerable population. “We don’t have any social distance within us,” said the detainee. “We are just living by the grace of God.” Meanwhile, states appeal to the Supreme Court justices to block Trump administration rules that penalize legal immigrants from seeking public benefits.

Hospitals That Want To Use Stimulus Funds For COVID-19 Patients Must Agree To No ‘Surprise’ Medical Bills

KHN Morning Briefing

The stimulus bill includes $100 billion for the health care system to use to treat coronavirus patients, and the White House said hospitals that accept the grants will have to certify that they won’t try to collect more money than the patient would have otherwise owed if the medical attention had been provided in network. Meanwhile, lawmakers may use the next stimulus package to help address the broader issue of surprise medical bills. News outlets report on other insurance coverage and Medicaid developments, as well.

Advocates Say There Must Be Investment In Medicaid Which Will Likely Become Default Insurance Plan For Many

KHN Morning Briefing

As unemployment surges, Medicaid will likely see a reflective wave of new enrollees. But hefty investments into the program will be needed to absorb those extra costs. “You definitely see in the data that as unemployment goes up, the Medicaid rolls go up,” said Josh Bivens, of the Economic Policy Institute. “That’s good, and it’s supposed to happen: It’s a safety net. But this is a quick enough shock that it could be a huge financial burden on Medicaid systems across the states.”

Trump Suggests Health Law Enrollment Might Be Reopened After His Administration Decided Against It

KHN Morning Briefing

When President Donald Trump was asked what people should do who lose their jobs because of the outbreak and don’t qualify for Medicaid, he said, “I think it’s a very fair question . . . and it’s something that we’re really going to look at because it doesn’t seem fair.” Earlier in the week, administration officials said they would not launch a special enrollment session. Meanwhile, data released from last year’s health law enrollment for show about 11.4 million consumers signed-up for 2020 exchange coverage.

Government Health Plans To Pay For Testing; Private Insurers Vow To Ease Cost Concerns As Well

KHN Morning Briefing

As federal officials promise that Medicare, Medicaid and ACA plans will have the costs of their tests covered, some private insurers promise they will cover diagnostic testing when ordered by a doctor, ease network, referral and prior authorization requirements and/or waive patient cost sharing. States have been taking steps to ease cost concerns over testing, as well.

CMS Axes New York’s Plan To Extend Its Medicaid Reform Program After State Asked For $8B In Funding

KHN Morning Briefing

In denying New York’s request, the federal government is refusing to support the way the state is trying to change its delivery system to care for people in community medical facilities rather than in hospitals. It is rejecting the application but not eliminating funding that was already promised. Other Medicaid news comes from Minnesota and West Virginia.

Immigration Advocates Braced As ‘Public Charge’ Rule Goes Into Effect

KHN Morning Briefing

The Trump administration rolled out a rule on Monday that advocates say will have a chilling effect on immigrants seeking needed help through programs like Medicaid and food stamps. “It’s sending a message that says, ‘you’re not welcome,’” said Marty Martinez, Boston’s chief of health and human services.

Supreme Court Lifts Final Barrier To ‘Public Charge’ Immigration Policy Going Into Effect On Monday

KHN Morning Briefing

The Supreme Court on Friday lifted a lower court injunction against the rule, which will allow immigration officials to consider whether a green card applicant would ever make even temporary use of public safety nets like Medicaid. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a scathing dissent in which she said the Trump administration has abused its ability to seek the Supreme Court’s decision when a lower court issues a stay against one of its policies.

Appeals Court Shoots Down Arkansas’ Medicaid Work Requirements In Latest Legal Blow For Trump Administration

KHN Morning Briefing

The ruling, written by a Reagan-appointed judge, upheld a lower court’s stance that Arkansas’ plan to add work requirements to its Medicaid program was “arbitrary and capricious” and failed to show how such rules would help Medicaid to meet its mission of covering the poor. The Trump administration has been encouraging states to add work requirements, but so far has come up short in the courts.