April 15 is the day tobacco companies pay $9 billion for tobacco illnesses, but is it enough?

April 15, 2019, WTOP, The Associated Press - For state Medicaid plans, though, which pay a heavy price for tobacco-related illnesses, it can be a shot in the arm of sorts. April 15 is also the day when the five largest tobacco companies pay US$9 billion dollars to state governments, each and every year, forever, because of a 1998 legal settlement meant to compensate states for the costs of tobacco-related illness such as cancer, emphysema and heart disease. Actual payments made by the tobacco companies vary year to year because of adjustment factors written into the settlement; each of the states’ payments varies as well.

Health-care law more popular despite Trump’s repeated attempts to destroy it

April 13, 2019, The Washington Post, Paige Winfield Cunningham - President Trump has begun a fresh assault on the Affordable Care Act, declaring his intent to come up with a new health-care plan and backing a state-led lawsuit to eliminate the entire law. But Trump and Republicans face a major problem: The 2010 law known as Obamacare has become more popular and enmeshed in the country’s health-care system over time. Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid - including more than a dozen run by Republicans - and 25 million more Americans are insured, with millions more enjoying coverage that is more comprehensive because of the law. Even Republicans who furiously fought the creation of the law and won elections with the mantra of repeal and replace speak favorably of President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.

Why States Want Certain Americans to Work for Medicaid

April 12, 2019, Lola Fadulu, The Atlantic - The letters went out to governors on March 14, 2017. Seema Verma had recently been appointed by President Donald Trump as the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency within the Department of Health and Human Services that oversees health-care programs for more than 130 million Americans. Verma and then-HHS Secretary Tom Price, also a Trump appointee, wanted to alert state leaders across the nation that a new era was dawning: Some people would be required to work in exchange for Medicaid benefits.

April 12, 2019, Melody Schreiber, Pacific Standard - It can be hard sometimes to visualize an epidem

April 12, 2019, Melody Schreiber, Pacific Standard - It can be hard sometimes to visualize an epidemic-especially one as historically big and devastating as HIV. That’s why some researchers have turned to maps, which can illuminate links between policy and public-health outcomes in surprising ways. Patrick Sullivan is a professor of epidemiology at Emory University who previously worked in HIV/AIDS surveillance for more than a decade at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He can speak at length about the factors that have made the HIV epidemic difficult to address in the U.S.-including the challenges many people face accessing high-quality care in remote areas, the stigma many HIV-positive people still face, and the roles of income, poverty, and race in preventing and treating HIV.

Jim Hood focuses on mental health, healthcare in gubernatorial run

April 12, 2019, Whitney Downward, The Meridian Star - During Jim Hood’s tenure as Attorney General for Mississippi, he’s witnessed hundreds of jobs lost in the mental health field coupled with a rise in opioid abuse and addiction. “We have let down people that have needed our help the most at a time when they need it the most,” Hood said. “I saw the crack epidemic, the meth epidemic. This one is the worst one yet.” Hood, a Democratic candidate for governor, spoke to The Meridian Star’s editorial board on Friday about his campaign. Hood will face a host of opponents in the primary with the winner facing the Republican nominee in the general election in November.

Medicaid Expansion Will Be Big Issue In Fall Elections

April 11, 2019, The Northside Sun, Wyatt Emmerich - With state Elections coming up, one of the hottest issues is expansion of Medicaid. When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act nine years ago, it included the expansion of Medicaid to cover families and individuals making 138 percent of the poverty level. Congress agreed to pay states for 100 percent of the expansion. Two-thirds of the states quickly jumped on the opportunity. Seventeen states, all conservative, most in the south, declined the expansion after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the feds couldn’t force states to expand the program. Mississippi did not expand. Our conservative leadership cited two main reasons: First, it was part of Obamacare. Second, they believed the feds would end up forcing the states to foot more of the bill, which would bust the state budget. Both of these arguments were somewhat questionable.