Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Guidance To Allow States To Request Block Grant Waivers For Medicaid Programs Expected Soon

KHN Morning Briefing

Approving state waivers to change Medicaid funding to block grants would be among the Trump administration’s most controversial moves to reshape Medicaid. While supporters of block granting say it gives states more flexibility, critics warn that it creates incentives for states to cut aid for its most vulnerable populations. Meanwhile, Medicaid expansion advocates are frustrated by the last remaining red-state holdouts.

Adding Work Requirements To SNAP Benefits Drives People To Food Pantries Not Toward Jobs

KHN Morning Briefing

West Virginia has already adopted work requirements for its food stamp program and can act as a bellwether of what to expect as the Trump administration implements the policy nationwide. Like with other safety net programs, however, it’s very rarely a lack of will that stops people from working while on benefits, but rather the reality of being poor in America. So the requirements do little other than force people to find charity programs to help.

Local Officials Across Country Push Back Against Federal Policy Barring Pre-Trial Inmates From Medicaid Benefits

KHN Morning Briefing

“Just because you’ve been in jail for a short period of time, that shouldn’t automatically knock you off the [Medicaid] rolls,” said David Davis, the Democratic sheriff of Bibb County, Georgia. “You then have to go through enrollment all over again.” The disruption in enrollment can often negatively effect an already vulnerable population of people. Other Medicaid news comes from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Georgia, California and the South.

In Aftermath Of Court Decision, Threat Of Political Headache For GOP Recedes As Fate Of Health Law Remains In Limbo

KHN Morning Briefing

Many questions remain following the appeals court’s decision to kick the case back down to a federal district judge, but the Affordable Care Act does remain intact for now. Meanwhile, Republicans get some political breathing room as they head into the 2020 elections because it’s unlikely the lawsuit will be in front of the Supreme Court anytime soon.

Biden And Sanders Clash Over Health Care, But For Most Part Topic Takes Back Seat In Last Debate Of 2019

KHN Morning Briefing

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) exchange started out with some teasing, but escalated into shouting and interruptions as they touched on well-worn arguments about the status quo versus the costs of “Medicare for All.” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) jumped in to redirect Sanders’ anger toward congressional Republicans instead of his rival candidates. But overall, health care played a much smaller role at the final debate of the year as “Medicare for All” sinks in popularity.

Court Decision Offers Republicans Some Political Breathing Room Heading Into Contentious 2020

KHN Morning Briefing

It’s a widely believed that attacking the health law — and its popular provisions that protect preexisting conditions — proved to be a political vulnerability for Republicans during the 2018 elections. Because the case has been kicked back down to the lower courts, that means a final decision on the law’s fate might not come until after the 2020 election cycle.

Judges Rule Individual Mandate Is Unconstitutional, But Kick Case Back To Lower Court For Review Of Severability

KHN Morning Briefing

In a long-awaited decision, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans agreed with Judge Reed O’Connor that the individual mandate can no longer be viewed as a tax, and thus the requirement to buy insurance is unconstitutional. But the judges dodged a hard decision on whether that meant the whole law has to fall, sending it back to the lower courts for a closer look at whether the provision can be severed.

Health Highlights In Congress’ $1.4 Trillion Spending Bill: Tobacco Age, ‘Cadillac Tax,’ Medical Research And More

KHN Morning Briefing

Lawmakers released details Monday of a bipartisan deal that would allocate $1.4 trillion in federal spending for the remainder of the fiscal year to avoid a shutdown. Among other health-related measures, it includes a provision raising the minimum purchasing age for tobacco to 21, which advocates say is a “good step” toward a “substantial reduction” in smoking among young people. Media outlets cover the ins and outs of the bills and the ways they touch on health care.

Despite Likely Dip In Enrollment Numbers, Health Law Marketplaces Showing Resiliency Amid Political Bickering

KHN Morning Briefing

The normal open enrollment season wrapped up on Sunday, and experts are expecting the numbers to fall short of last year’s total. But fears of a marketplace collapse are nowhere to be found. “There’s definitely been some erosion, but perhaps not the cratering that some predicted back when the Trump administration announced some of their policy changes affect the ACA,” said Sabrina Corlette, a research professor. In other health law news: advocates call for an extension because of website glitches; a federal appeals court decision is poised to drop any day now; what would happen if the ACA went away; and more.

As Health Law Enrollment Deadline Nears, Remember The Insurance That Looks Too Good To Be True Probably Is

KHN Morning Briefing

Some consumers in North Carolina are receiving robocalls that come across like ads for plans with names like “Trump Health Care” touting affordable coverage. But those options are often skimpy and don’t offer even some of the basic coverage Americans have grown used to under the Affordable Care Act. The deadline for signing up for a 2020 plan is Sunday. News comes out of Georgia, Florida and California, as well.