Arkansas Medicaid work requirements could cost thousands coverage, data show

August 15, 2018, The Hill, Jessie Hellmann- New data released by the state of Arkansas on Wednesday show Medicaid enrollees are struggling to comply with the state’s new work requirements, putting thousands at risk of losing health care. The requirements - which mandate that some Medicaid beneficiaries work or complete similar activities to retain benefits - went into effect in June after being approved by the Trump administration. Beneficiaries who don’t report their work activities to the state, or do report but aren’t meeting the 80-hour-per-month work requirement, could lose coverage if they don’t meet the requirements for three months out of the year.

Trump’s immigrant healthcare rule could hurt low-income populations

August 14, 2018, Modern Healthcare, Harris Meyer- Healthcare leaders warn that a pending Trump administration rule penalizing legal immigrants for using government benefits like Medicaid would hurt public health efforts and reduce their ability to serve millions of low-income children and families. According to a revised draft of the 223-page rule leaked in March, the Trump administration will allow immigration officials to consider legal immigrants’ use of public health insurance, nutrition and other programs as a strongly negative factor in their applications for legal permanent residency. The change also applies to citizens’ and legal residents’ requests to bring family members into the U.S., as well as to young people who have legal status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as Dreamers.

UMMC reaches deal with Blue Cross to remain in-network

August 14, 2018, The Clarion-Ledger, Anna Wolfe- University of Mississippi Medical Center and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi have reached a contract agreement, ensuring thousands of Mississippians continued access to the state’s only academic medical center and its clinics. The original, 28-year-old contract, which hospital officials claimed was unfair, expired June 30. Throughout the month-and-a-half long stalemate, the entities agreed to continue treating patients as if UMMC was still in Blue Cross’s network. The hospital and insurer released a joint statement Tuesday evening. “Blue Cross and UMMC thank Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney for his leadership in encouraging the parties to enter mediation,” it read. “The parties have agreed to this limited press release and to make no further comments.

Trump’s Sabotage of Obamacare Is Illegal

August 14, 2018, The New York Times, Nicholas Bagley and Abbe R. Gluck- From the moment he took office, President Trump has used all aspects of his executive power to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. He has issued executive orders, directed agencies to come up with new rules and used the public platform of the presidency in a blatant attempt to undermine the law. Indeed, he has repeatedly bragged about doing so, making statements like, “Essentially, we are getting rid of Obamacare.” But Mr. Trump isn’t a king; he doesn’t have the power to dispense with laws he dislikes. He swore to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. That includes the requirement, set forth in Article II, that the president “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Faithfully executing the laws requires the president to act reasonably and in good faith.


August 8, 2018, Hub City Spokes, Staff Editorial- Over the past four years, there are two subjects that we have opined about more than perhaps any others: the failure to address Mississippi’s deteriorating roads and the failure to expand Medicaid. Both are the results of misguided leadership within Mississippi’s government. Although these criticisms are not intended to pick on Republican officeholders, the fact is they have called all the shots in state government during this time, and there really is no one else to honestly blame. Democrats may raise a fuss, but that’s about all they can do. With Republican supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature and with a Republican governor, whatever the GOP wants, it gets. It doesn’t need a single Democratic vote to get an initiative through.

States fight Trump on non-ObamaCare health plans

August 12, 2018, The Hill, Nathaniel Weixel- The Trump administration’s new policy of expanding the sale of “short-term” insurance plans as a cheaper alternative to ObamaCare is quickly running into opposition from state regulators. The Department of Health and Human Services is urging states to cooperate with the federal government, but instead, insurance commissioners are panning the new plans as “junk” insurance and state legislatures are putting restrictions on their sales. State insurance officials argue that, despite being less expensive than ObamaCare plans, the short-term plans are bad for consumers and aren’t an adequate substitute for comprehensive insurance.