Medicaid Is Rural America’s Financial Midwife

March 12, 2018, Kaiser Health News, Shefali Luthra- Brianna Foster, 23, lives minutes away from Genesis Hospital, the main source of health care and the only hospital with maternity services in southeastern Ohio’s rural Muskingum County. Proximity proved potentially lifesaving last fall when Foster, pregnant with her second child, Holden, felt contractions at 31 weeks - about seven weeks too soon. Genesis was equipped to handle the situation - giving Foster medication and an injection to stave off delivery. After his birth four weeks later - still about a month early, at 5 pounds 12 ounces - Holden was sent to the hospital’s special care nursery for monitoring. Mother and son went home after a few days. “He was pretty small - but he’s picking up weight fast,” said Foster of Holden, now almost 4 months old.

How health care changed since 1965 and what this rural Mississippi doctor did about it

March 12, 2018, The Clarion-Ledger, Anna Wolfe- Dr. Charles Ozborn is the small-town Mississippi doctor who still makes house visits. His patients have his cellphone number, free to call on the weekends. It’s a close-knit community. Real close.“In my practice, nobody comes in here without me finding some way to give them a colonoscopy,” Ozborn said. They agree to the procedure more often, he said, because they trust him. This isn’t a random admission: Ozborn estimates he’s reduced cases of colon cancer at his Eupora clinic by 80 percent. Ozborn, winner of Staff Care’s 2018 “Country Doctor of the Year Award,” is not just a country doctor. The 78-year-old’s compassionate, personable practice doesn’t make him old-fashioned.

Mississippi could still see an increase on tobacco tax

March 9, 2018, WDAM, Melissa Egan- Smokers could still see an increase in tax on their cigarettes in Mississippi. Senate Bill 3048, introduced by Senator Joey Fillingane, is a bond bill to authorize general obligations bonds for capital improvements in communities, junior colleges and state universities that has moved to the House Ways and Means committee. One part of the bill includes funding from an imposed tax increase on cigarettes.

Mississippi legislators push for cigarette tax increase

March 9, 2018, The DM Online, Sarah Henderson- Some Mississippi lawmakers are working to discourage children and adults from beginning or continuing to smoke by proposing an increased tax on cigarettes. Legislators recently drafted five bills to propose the tax increase, but all five failed as of Feb. 21.Mississippians in favor of a tax increase aren’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. Senate Bill 3048, a bond bill, still remains and has the potential to be revised to increase cigarette taxes from the current 68 cents to at least $1 by late March. “On cigarettes, the rate of tax shall be Three and Four-tenths Cents (3.4¢) on each cigarette sold with a maximum length of one hundred twenty (120) millimeters; any cigarette in excess of this length shall be taxed as if it were two (2) or more cigarettes,” the bill reads.

A Health Plan ‘Down Payment’ Is One Way States Try Retooling Individual Mandate

March 9, 2018, Kaiser Health News, Rachel Bluth- As President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans tirelessly try to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, a number of states are scrambling to enact laws that safeguard its central provisions. The GOP tax plan approved by Congress in the last days of 2017 repealed the ACA penalty for people who fail to carry health insurance, a provision called the “individual mandate.” On Jan. 30, in Trump’s first State of the Union address, he claimed victory in killing off this part of the health law, saying Obamacare was effectively dead without it.  But before that federal action kicks in next year, some states are enacting measures to preserve the effects of the mandate by creating their own versions of it.

The Medicaid Freeloader Fallacy

March 8, 2018, U.S. News, Rachel Graves- The Trump administration touts work requirements as good for recipients’ health and a form of “compassion” that will help poor people “unlock their fullest potential,” as Seema Verma, the administration’s administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, wrote in a column in the Washington Post. Most policy experts argue the opposite, saying that Medicaid gives the poor access to health care that allows them to be healthy and work. Work requirements, paradoxically, will reduce access to health care and make it harder for people to work, health experts say.