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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.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) say Tennessee’s proposal would create a financial incentive for the state to cut coverage benefits for consumers, because it’s allowed to keep some amount of any of the unspent federal funds it’s awarded. Medicaid news comes out of Kansas and Ohio, as well.
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.
Research counters a popular conservative talking point that Medicaid expansion exacerbated the opioid crisis, in the latest study to show that the expanded program has improved health and saved lives.
Under federal law, legal immigrants are eligible for government-funded health care. During arguments the three-judge panel questioned why President Donald Trump was allowed to overrule that legislation with his ban.
“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.
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.
With his health care proposals, Democratic presidential race late-comer Michael Bloomberg stands in middle-of-the-road ground rather than steering into the progressive lanes of the party, where universal care and “Medicare for All” are more favored.
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.
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.
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.
In a closely watched case that could determine the future of the Affordable Care Act, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared the law’s individual mandate unconstitutional but in need of further analysis.
As we near the end of the decade, The Wall Street Journal takes a look back at the way the Affordable Care Act has left a lasting impact on the country.
The work requirements were a central part in the 2019 race between now-Gov. Andy Beshear (D) and the then-incumbent Matt Bevin (R). Bevin’s plan, which had been blocked by the courts, would have stripped Medicaid coverage for about 100,000 Kentuckians.
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.
The government heeded calls from advocates, experts and lawmakers to extend the deadline for open enrollment. But some say without an effort to publicize that decision, in addition to the short time window, it won’t help many consumers. The enrollment deadline extends through Dec. 18.
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.
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.
Unlike other states that have tried to add work requirements, South Carolina didn’t expand its program under the health law. Advocates denounced the approval, calling it “a new low in the Trump administration’s quest to strip away health coverage for our nation’s low-income residents.”
In the sixth week of open enrollment for 2019 coverage, there had been a 12% drop off. For 2020 coverage the sign-ups are lagging by 6%. These numbers don’t include people who will be automatically enrolled in their coverage, and there also is usually a flurry in the last few days before the Dec. 15 deadline.