July 16, 2018, PEW, Elaine S. Povich- On a recent sultry summer afternoon, 81-year-old widow Nellie Allen sat on the porch of her one-story brick home, one in a strip of government-subsidized houses surrounded by fields and country roads. Allen makes do on $900 a month from Social Security. She raised four kids and never worked outside the home. She doesn’t drive, so she can’t get to the nearest grocery store, which is several miles away. Even if she did, she wouldn’t be able to afford to buy what she needs. The big truck heading her way pulls to the side of a one-lane road to let oncoming cars pass by before it can reach her. The truck is the West Alabama Food Bank’s mobile pantry. Its cargo includes some 5,000 pounds of food - boxes of bread, fruits, vegetables, drinks and pastries that it will deliver to dozens of people in rural Alabama, many of them poor, aging or disabled. All of them, like Allen, need help to make ends meet.
July 16, 2018, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz- The Trump administration is trying out a new argument to defend its support of work requirements for social safety net programs like Medicaid: The Johnson-era “War on Poverty” was victorious and now most Americans don’t need the aid. The White House, in a lengthy report released at the end of last week, focuses on Medicaid, food stamps and housing assistance data to make its case for why non-disabled, working-age, low-income Americans should meet some employment eligibility thresholds to qualify for the government assistance. As our colleagues wrote over the weekend, it’s the same old Republican position with a new twist. Whereas for years the GOP’s reason for overhauling the safety net programs was because they didn’t work to bring people out of poverty, the Trump White House is now essentially saying the decades-old efforts were a success, so are no longer needed.
July 13, 2018, The Clarion-Ledger, The Clarion-Ledger Staff- Residents in Senatobia, Mississippi, said they were surprised by the closure of the emergency room at North Oak Regional Medical Center Thursday morning. Now, the closest emergency room is either in Batesville, 24 miles away, or Southaven, 27 miles away, WREG reported. “I think it’s a really crying shame, because there’s so many people around here that need somewhere to go that’s quick,” said Sally Ketchum. Before it closed at 7 a.m., North Oak Regional Medical Center’s emergency room was the only emergency room in Tate County. “This community needs and deserves a full-service hospital, period,” North Oak CEO Philip Hanna said. Hanna estimates the emergency room was seeing from 500 to 600 patients per month. Hanna said that earlier this year, the federal Medicare program began reducing the amount of money it was reimbursing the hospital for care. The hospital was losing about $100,000 a month, Hanna said.
July 12, 2018, The Delta News, Candi Stone- If you’ve ever had questions concerning any area of healthcare, there’s a local non-profit dedicated to personalized help. Gabriel Watson, an outreach coordinator with Health Help MS, explained more about their services this morning. She’ll be offering after-hours care soon for those that can’t make it during normal business hours.
July 12, 2018, Modern Healthcare, Virgil Dickson- The White House suggested on Thursday that Congress may need to pass a new law in order for states to impose work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries. Mandatory work requirements could be key to motivating adults to work as there is evidence that many are choosing not to, according to a report issued by the Council of Economic Advisers, an agency within the Executive Office of the President. The council found that 60% of working-age Medicaid recipients who aren’t disabled who worked fewer than 20 hours per week. The report added there was a smaller unspecified amount of adult Medicaid enrollees who aren’t disabled not working at all.
July 11, 2018, Kaiser Health News, Julie Rovner- Over the weekend, Seema Verma, administrator for the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said she was suspending $10 billion in “risk adjustment” payments that helped stabilize the insurance markets created under the health law.fits.” Verma said the “risk-adjustment” payments and collections had to be halted in response to a New Mexico court ruling in February that said elements of the program were flawed. Another court in Massachusetts had upheld the program in January. The risk-adjustment program was meant to stabilize the insurance exchanges by taking money made through low-risk consumers and shifting it to higher-risk pools. The federal government collects money from some insurers that enrolled healthier patients and then transfers money to other insurers who had sicker enrollees.