‘I want Congress Care,’ woman at forum says of health care concerns

April 23, 2017, The Sun Herald, Robin Fitzgerald- One by one, a small but lively group of self-described “regular people” took the microphone at a town forum Sunday afternoon, speaking from the heart on basic human rights and needs and answers they want from their congressmen. They shared concerns such as cuts to food stamps programs, school lunch programs and the need for affordable health care, even for people who have insurance but can’t afford their co-pays. Town hall organizers turned the microphone over to anyone who wanted to speak about their concerns. Pictures of U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo and U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran were affixed to the wall behind the podium. Town hall organizers had hoped Palazzo would be able to attend Sunday’s forum at DeMiller Hall.

Lawmakers revisiting requiring those on Medicaid to work

April 21, 2017, Associated Press, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar- A simple question - should adults who are able to work be required to do so to get taxpayer-provided health insurance? - could lead to major changes in the social safety net. The federal-state Medicaid program for low-income and disabled people covers more than 70 million U.S. residents - about 1 in 5 - including an increasing number of working-age adults. In a break from past federal policy, the Health and Human Services Department under Secretary Tom Price has already notified governors it stands ready to approve state waivers for “meritorious” programs that encourage work. Separately, an amendment to the still-stuck House GOP health care bill would allow individual states to require work or training for adults, with exceptions such as pregnant women, or parents of a disabled child.

GOP Plan To Trim Insurance Benefits Might Not Tame Premiums

April 21, 2017, NPR, Julie Rovner- As House Republicans try to find common cause on a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, they may be ready to let states make the ultimate decision about whether to keep a key provision in the federal health law that conservatives believe is raising insurance costs. Conservatives from the House Freedom Caucus and members of a more moderate group of House Republicans, the Tuesday Group, are working on changes to the GOP health overhaul bill that was pulled unceremoniously by party leaders last month when they couldn’t get enough votes to pass it. At the heart of those negotiations is the law’s requirement that most insurance plans offer 10 specific categories of “essential health benefits.”

Rep. Kelly addresses issues at town hall forum

April 19, 2017, The Daily Journal, Celeb Bedillion- They came from across north Mississippi, packed a tiny town hall to capacity and spilled out beyond into the parking lot, all to hear U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly talk policy and take questions. Kelly began Tuesday morning early, meeting with conservative groups in DeSoto County but by the afternoon, he rolled into the tiny Winston County town of Noxapater, population 419. There, he hosted a public town hall forum in a municipal building perched atop a small hill near a water tower. “This is about as close to home as I can get in my district,” said Kelly, noting that he grew up in the nearby community of Neshoba, located in the 3rd Congressional District. The event attracted constituents from across the 1st Congressional District, with license plates visible from Lee County, Lafayette County and DeSoto County.

Groups warn of rural health ‘crisis’ under ObamaCare repeal

April 19, 2017, The Hill, Rachel Roubein- Rural areas would be hit particularly hard if Congress and the Trump administration don’t send clear signals that they’re committed to helping keep ObamaCare’s insurance marketplaces stable next year, advocates warn. Insurers are in the midst of deciding which ObamaCare markets to enter, and they need assurances that they won’t have to pay billions for out-of-pocket costs for certain low-income consumers. Rural areas already have fewer care options than their urban peers. A “crisis in rural counties,” is possible without more clarity, said Alan Morgan, the CEO of the National Rural Health Association, an umbrella group representing hospitals, doctors and others that work in rural areas.

Mississippi Congressmen Decline Forum Invites

April 18, 2017, Jackson Free Press, Associated Press- The Mississippi congressional delegation will not attend public forums set up by constituents in Northeast Mississippi.
The Daily Journal reports that citizens organized forums in Oxford and Starkville during the two weeks of congressional recess and sent out invites. The organizers are called Indivisible Golden Triangle and bill themselves as a resistance movement against President Donald Trump. Staff members for U.S. senators Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran, both Republicans, say neither will attend. Rep. Gregg Harper, a Republican representing Starkville, says he prefers town halls conducted by phone. He believes the upcoming Starkville event is operated by Democratic protesters to score points.