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News Archives

State’s leadership forms working groups to look at tax structure, spending

July 15, 2016, Daily Journal, Bobby Harrison- The state’s Republican political leadership announced the formation of “working groups” Thursday to look at how the state is collecting and spending revenue. “On the budget side, our goal is to examine how our tax dollars are spent and if those expenditures line up with our priorities,” House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, said in a news release. “On the tax side, we want to examine the entire tax structure and develop a comprehensive plan that is both fair and provides a more solid stream of revenue.” Gunn, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Gov. Phil Bryant announced the study groups that will make recommendations to the full Legislature Thursday afternoon during a news conference at the state Capitol.

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Health care has improved, study finds, but the changes are small

July 14, 2016, The Washington Post, Lateshia Beachum- California and Minnesota accounted for seven of the 10 leading areas: San Mateo, San Francisco and San Jose, plus St. Paul, Rochester, St. Cloud and Minneapolis. Among areas needing the most improvement, five were in Mississippi: Jackson, Meridian, Gulfport, Oxford and Hattiesburg.

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The wrong state to have an accident

July 13, 2016, Politico, Rachana Pradhan- In December 2014, Donnie Gene Rippy fell off a roof while shooing away ducks, breaking his back and too many bones to count. He underwent four surgeries to fix his shoulder, wrists and vocal cords. Rippy, a brick mason, had the misfortune to be uninsured. But his bad luck was compounded by where his accident happened. If he had lived about 50 miles north-that is, anywhere over the Kentucky border-he wouldn’t have to rely on ibuprofen and occasional cortisone shots from a local health department for his persistent back and knee pain. Chances are good he would also have gotten treatment for the memory and mood issues that developed after the fall. And he wouldn’t be mired in more than $60,000 in medical debt.

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Many Toddlers Fail To Get Necessary Medicaid Renewal At Their First Birthday

July 12, 2016, Kaiser Health News, Michelle Andrews- Many babies born to mothers who are covered by Medicaid are automatically eligible for that coverage during the first year of their lives. In a handful of states, the same is true for babies born to women covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Yet, this smart approach is routinely undermined by another federal policy that requires babies’ eligibility be reevaluated on their first birthday. Although they’re likely still eligible for coverage, many of these toddlers fall through the cracks.

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Insurance premium tax only bright spot in state’s revenue stream

July 12, 2016, Mississippi Business Journal, Bobby Harrison- Surging revenue from Mississippi’s tax on insurance premiums has prevented what has been a dismal year for state revenue collections from being even worse While state revenue collections for the fiscal year that ended June 30 are down year over year for only the fourth time since at least 1970, revenue from the 3 percent tax on insurance premiums sold within the state skyrocketed by $50.1 million or nearly 23 percent. While the insurance premium revenue composes only a small portion (under 5 percent) of the state’s $6.3 billion budget, the revenue still was an unexpected boon for legislators dealing with budget woes.

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HHS Report Says Obamacare Plans Are Cheaper Than They Look

July 12, 2016, NPR, Alison Kodjak-  Obamacare health plans have been getting a bad rap this year. Critics say the premiums are too high, the out-of-pocket costs are out of control, and the requirements and red tape are too thick. But now the Obama administration is pushing back. A study released Tuesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services argues that the cost-sharing isn’t nearly as heavy as previous analyses have shown, because most consumers get subsidies that limit their deductibles and copayments. “This comprehensive analysis makes clear that two key misconceptions about the market are incorrect,” said Christen Linke Young, principal deputy director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at CMS.

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Medicaid expansion improves access

July 8, 2016, The Clarion Ledger, Pam Roshell- As I travel across the Southeastern region, there is nothing more heartbreaking than to witness some of the region’s poorest and sickest citizens be denied access to affordable, quality health care because they are caught in the persistent Medicaid gap. The despair felt by tens of thousands of low-income citizens in the seven Southeastern states - Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee - that have chosen not to expand Medicaid is in contrast to millions of grateful and satisfied Americans who have gained access to quality health care as a result of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

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Justice Dept. Has Concerns Over Aetna-Humana Deal: Source

July 7, 2016, The New York Times, Reuters- The U.S. Department of Justice has significant concerns about Aetna Inc’s proposed acquisition of health insurer Humana Inc, a source familiar with the situation said on Thursday, sending shares of Humana down as much as 11 percent.Aetna’s purchase of Humana would combine two of the largest providers of Medicare Advantage plans for elderly people, and investors have long been concerned the deal might pose a competition issue for antitrust regulators.

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Obamacare isn’t the jobs crusher it was made out to be

July 7, 2016, Business Insider, Bob Bryan- Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, there were some dire warnings about its potential affect on the jobs market. Lawmakers opposed to it raised concerns that small businesses would be reluctant to hire employees for fear of hitting the threshold for providing insurance or that hourly employees would have their hours cut back to avoid hitting full-time status. Those fears, however, have not come to pass, according to B. Ravikumar, of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and Lin Shao, of Washington University in St. Louis.

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House Panel Extends Funding For Medicare Program To Help Consumers

July 7, 2016, Kaiser Health News, Susan Jaffee- A House subcommittee voted on Thursday to continue $52 million in funding for a program that helps seniors understand the complexities of their Medicare coverage. Two weeks ago, a Senate committee voted to eliminate it. The measure preserving the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, known as SHIP, is part of a massive spending bill for federal health, education and labor programs, approved by the Republican majority of the House appropriations subcommittee that oversees those departments. Democrats opposed the bill, which would cut money for the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and the Social Security Administration.

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