Issue: Medicaid

Suddenly, Progress on Children’s Health Coverage Reverses

For many years, the rate of uninsured children in the United States has been declining thanks to bipartisan efforts to extend coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. But in 2017, approximately 276,000 more children became uninsured, leading to a total of 3.9 million uninsured children nationwide. The rate for children age 18 and younger went up from 4.7 percent in 2016 to 5 percent in 2017,

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More Rural States Vote to Expand Medicaid

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows states to expand Medicaid access to childless adults whose incomes are below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. In the last two years, multiple attempts in Congress to repeal the ACA would have also ended expanded Medicaid. Where it has been adopted, expanded Medicaid has bolstered finances at rural hospital. The majority of recent rural hospital closures – about 90 since 2010 – have occurred in non-expansion states.

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Study: Without Medicaid expansion, poor skip care

Among the report’s findings: Nearly 20 percent of low-income people in states that did not expand Medicaid said they passed up needed medical care in the past 12 months because they couldn’t afford it. That compared to 9.4 percent in states that expanded the program. And about 8 percent of those in states that did not expand Medicaid reported they either skipped medication doses to save money or took less medication than prescribed. That compared to about 5 percent in states that expanded.

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Bringing Value to Iowa’s Medicaid Program

A fundamental flaw of Iowa’s current Medicaid managed care arrangement is its failure to provide value. After closely reviewing current research and examining effective Medicaid solutions from other states, Iowa’s hospitals believe there is a better way, a “Third Way” that puts Medicaid back under state control and evolves the program beyond the volume-based fee-for-service model – a way that creates and sustains value at a level that is simply impossible under the profit-driven private managed care organizations.

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Rural Areas Benefit from Medicaid Expansion

“Expanding Medicaid has had a very positive impact on small towns and rural communities,” said Georgetown University researcher Joan Alker. “Improved coverage rates typically translate to a more stable health care system and help rural areas and small towns maintain availability of health care providers in areas where shortages are all too common. Access to rural health providers is especially important to women of child-bearing age and those with chronic conditions.”

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The Value of Health Care Reform is More Than You May Think

Most Iowans probably know that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ended health insurance discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions. Parents are generally aware that adult children can stay on their health plan until age 26. These were great advances, but many of the long-range benefits of the ACA haven’t received much attention. Nonetheless, new structures have taken hold behind the scenes and they’re working to improve care quality, increase innovation and even boost the economy.

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Iowa’s Medicaid Mess is All Too Familiar

Much like Iowa, things have not gone well with Medicaid privatization in Kansas. And, again like Iowa, promises that the MCOs would save millions of dollars and make people healthier have been called into question. So much so that in April 2017, Kansas legislators directed the state’s independent auditors to find out whether KanCare is working. Their conclusion: It’s not.

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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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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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