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Where Dentists Are Scarce, American Indians Forge a Path to Better Care

May 22, 2016, The New York Times, Kirk Johnson- Going to the dentist evokes a special anxiety for Verne McLeod. He grew up on the Swinomish Indian reservation here in northwest Washington State in the 1950s and vividly remembers the dentist who visited periodically. The doctor worked from a trailer, and did not bother with painkillers. “They just strapped us down and drilled,” said Mr. McLeod, 70. Poor oral health a has plagued tribal lands across the nation. Indian preschool-aged children had four times the rate of untreated tooth decay as white children in a recent study. Poverty, diet and a decades-long lack of access to good care on remote reservations compound the problem.

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Here’s what CEOs think of candidates’ healthcare ideas

May 21, 2016, Modern Healthcare, Shannon Muchmore- The nation’s top healthcare leaders overwhelmingly back the Affordable Care Act and support its goal of pushing providers away from fee-for-service medicine and toward delivering value-based care, according to Modern Healthcare’s second-quarter CEO Power Panel poll.While the Republican Party and its presumptive nominee, businessman Donald Trump, continue to stand by their “repeal and replace” slogan, the sector’s CEOs overwhelmingly reject that idea, in large part because they are unimpressed with the GOP’s attempts to articulate what it would replace it with.

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How Obamacare Affects Our Wallets And Debt Ratio

May 18, 2016,, Shankar Vedantam- A study examined the economic effects of the Affordable Care Act. Researchers found states that opted to expand Medicaid through Obamacare had residents with fewer unpaid bills and less debt overall.

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Medicaid Expansion Moves Forward in Oklahoma. Will Texas Follow Suit?

May 17, 2016,, Ashley Lopez- Oklahoma officials are seriously considering expanding Medicaid in that state under the Affordable Care Act. That means all of the states surrounding Texas - including New Mexico, Arkansas and Louisiana - could soon have expanded Medicaid programs. During a meeting at the Capitol yesterday, advocates said it’s an opportunity for Texas officials to revisit this issue back home. State officials in both Oklahoma and Texas have been ideologically opposed to expanding Medicaid. But Oklahoma is facing a serious budget shortfall thanks to rising health care costs in the state.

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Should Pediatricians Ask Parents If They’re Poor?

May 18, 2016,, Elaine Korry- A single question asked at an annual checkup - whether parents have trouble making ends meet - could help pediatricians identify children at risk for serious health problems associated with poverty and the chronic levels of stress that often accompany it. The American Academy of Pediatrics urges members to ask if their patients’ families are struggling financially and then commit to helping them get the resources they need to thrive. And some communities are trying to make that happen. Since almost half of young children in the United States live in poverty or near poverty, it’s no small challenge.

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La. plans to use food stamp data in Medicaid expansion

May 7, 2016, The Washington Times, Associated Press- State health department officials say they are confident they will receive federal approval for a plan to use data from food stamp applications to qualify people for Medicaid. Nola.comThe Times-Picayune reports ( the approach will allow the Department of Health and Hospitals to automatically qualify tens of thousands of people for the state’s expansion of Medicaid, the federally funded health care program for the poor. It will also reduce the workload for DHH and its contractors as they begin signing up as many as 375,000 people over the next several months for the program that’s now being branded as “Healthy Louisiana.”

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A good prognosis for the Affordable Care Act as UnitedHealth says goodbye

May 8, 2016, The Washington Post, Editorial Board- The Affordable Care Act’s critics seemed to get a shocking piece of new evidence when UnitedHealth Group, the country’s largest health insurer, announced last month that it would pull out of many ACA markets next year. In fact, the news is not all that shocking, and it is not a sign that the law is failing. Though UnitedHealth is the country’s largest health insurer, it is not a dominant player in the marketplaces that the ACA set up for individual insurance buyers.

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Louisiana gets innovative to catch up on Medicaid expansion: Editorial

May 11, 2016, The Times-Picayune, Editorial Board- Louisiana is behind on expanding Medicaid because the state refused to accept the extra federal money until Gov. John Bel Edwards took office in January. But an innovative approach by the Department of Health and Hospitals could allow tens of thousands of eligible residents to be approved almost immediately. That could make a huge difference for those families and would jump start the state’s effort to sign up an estimated 375,000 Louisianians expected to qualify for Medicaid under the expansion.

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Health Coverage Rates For Lower Income Children Improving

May 13, 2016, Kaiser Health News, Michelle Andrews- Bolstered by the federal health care law, the number of lower income kids getting health coverage continues to improve, a recent study found. During 2014, the first full year of the law’s implementation, 91 percent of children who were eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program were enrolled, according to the study by researchers at the Urban Institute. In 2013, that figure was 88.7 percent and only 81.7 percent in 2008. Medicaid and CHIP are both federal-state health coverage programs for lower-income residents, but CHIP provides coverage for kids whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.

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May 13, 2016, Mississippi Public Broadcasting- The state Division of Medicaid is facing budget deficits that could keep doctors and hospitals in the state from getting paid for providing health care. Medicaid is one of many state agencies staring down reduced budgets next fiscal year. Many are cutting services and laying off staff. Medicaid helps low income Mississippians get health care they ordinarily would go without. Money for Medicaid comes from the state and federal governments. Proportionately, Mississippi gets more federal dollars than any other state for Medicaid. Division of Medicaid chief David Dzielak told MPB’s Paul Boger it’s possible a financial emergency might have to be declared by the governor.

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