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5 Things to Know about Medicaid Work Requirements

A lawsuit before the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., will determine whether tens of thousands of low-income adults in Kentucky will have to find jobs or volunteer in order to retain their health coverage. But the ruling could have far-reaching implications affecting millions of enrollees nationwide and determining how far the Trump administration can go in changing Medicaid without congressional action.

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Pre-existing Condition Coverage Denial is Back on Table

In the wake of failed efforts to gain support for their health plan last month, the White House is negotiating to put repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) back on the table. While the previous proposal would have already driven up health care costs and stripped millions of coverage, the new proposal is reported to include provisions that would undo protections for the more than 130 million Americans who have a pre-existing health condition.

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Essential to Health, Food Assistance Faces Uncertainty

The new Farm Bill aims to restrict eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP (food stamps) recipients across the country. Without SNAP, food banks like The Crisis Center in Johnson County could not meet client need. Food banks are designed to be a supplemental food source, not a replacement for food stamps. SNAP can provide 12 meals for every one meal a food pantry can provide. Already, The Crisis Center is nearing capacity, distributing almost 2 million pounds of food annually.

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What the Data Says about Medicaid, Work and Work Requirements

As of December 2017, 32 states (including Iowa) had expanded Medicaid. By design, expansion extended coverage to the working poor (both parents and childless adults), most of whom do not otherwise have access to affordable coverage. Some states and the Trump administration have stated that expansion targets “able-bodied” adults. In response, they want Medicaid eligibility contingent on work. Under current law, states cannot impose a Medicaid work requirement. However, some states are asking for waivers to this law and the Trump administration has indicated a willingness to approve such waivers.

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Iowa Moves Up to No. 6 in 2018 Health System Scorecard

The Commonwealth Fund has released its 2018 Scorecard on State Health System Performance. The scorecard assesses more than 40 measures of health care access, quality, efficiency, health outcomes and health disparities across the US and ranks states based on those measures. Overall, Iowa is ranked number six, moving up one spot from 2017.

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After Years of Decline, Uninsured are Growing, Especially in Iowa

Americans without health insurance rose to 12.2 percent last year, up from 10.9 percent at the end of 2016, according to new data the polling firm Gallup and digital health company Sharecare . This comes after several years of dramatic declines in the percentage of Americans who lack health insurance ― a direct result of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) coverage provisions. The uninsured rate rose by statistically significant margins in Iowa and 16 other states in 2017, marking the first time since the full implementation of the ACA in 2014 that any state had a rate increase.

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340B Discount Drug Program Still Meets Important Needs

More than 25 years ago, Congress created the 340B Drug Pricing Program to allow eligible hospitals and health systems to stretch limited resources and expand access to care for vulnerable patients. But despite a proven track record of increasing patient access to vital medical services and decreasing government spending, some want changes that would weaken the program.

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As Uninsured Rates Increase, What Are Some Policy Options?

The marked gains in health insurance coverage made since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 are beginning to reverse, according to new findings from the latest Commonwealth Fund ACA Tracking Survey. The coverage declines are likely the result of two major factors: 1) lack of federal legislative actions to improve specific weaknesses in the ACA and 2) actions by the current administration that have exacerbated those weaknesses.

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Small-Hospital Surgeon Carries Big Load, Bigger Smile

As the only general surgeon in an Iowa Critical Access Hospital, Dr. Chad McCance shoulders a tremendous responsibility and he never fails to deliver. Even if he has to hike through a blizzard to get to the hospital (and he has!), he is always ready to serve his patients. Dr. McCance works with area surgeons from three different hospitals to ensure each community has surgery coverage at all times. In 2016, he was on call a total of 272 days.

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