While some states are seeking Medicaid flexibility to handle the crisis, others are pushing ahead with plans to tighten their programs. Meanwhile, the outbreak is straining states’ already tight budgets to the breaking point. And Native American tribes across the country turn inward, expecting little help from a federal government that has let them down time and again.
Modern Healthcare: GOP-Led States Diverge On Easing Medicaid Access During COVID-19
At least two Republican-led states want to temporarily ease their Medicaid waiver requirements and make it easier for residents to get and keep coverage under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program during the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, Arizona and Iowa sent requests to the CMS so they can make temporary changes to their Medicaid programs, including eliminating premiums and pausing disenrollments. (Meyer, 3/18)
Oklahoman: Stitt’s Medicaid Waiver Seeks Work Requirements, Premiums For Low-Income Oklahomans
Gov. Kevin Stitt’s plan to customize Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma seeks to impose work or community-engagement requirements on thousands of low-income Oklahomans and charge them monthly premiums for health care services. Directed by Stitt, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority is seeking approval for a Healthy Adult Opportunity waiver — offered by the Trump administration to let states tailor their Medicaid expansion plans. (Forman, 3/19)
The Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Hits State And City Budgets
Minnesota lawmakers have approved more than $220 million to tackle the coronavirus. Washington state is tapping $175 million in reserves to test for the virus and treat patients. And Philadelphia’s city council is considering holding a teleconferenced public hearing so $85 million can be freed up to help combat the pandemic. States and cities across the U.S. are scrambling to quickly draw millions of dollars from their reserves to help cover coronavirus-related expenses such as testing and unemployment insurance, while also bracing for steep tax-revenue declines. (Calvert and Kamp, 3/19)
Stateline: Tribes Expect Little Help In Fight To Protect Elders From Coronavirus
As tribes across the country take steps to fight the spread of the coronavirus, they’re doing so mindful that the virus has proven especially dangerous to the elderly, a venerated group in many Native communities. In her address, Gobin urged Tulalip members to look after the needs of Elders “so they don’t have to be in the public, because they are the most at-risk.” (Brown, 3/19)
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