Editorial writers weigh in on these health care policies and others.
Huffington Post: The Trump Administration Is Coming For Medicaid Again
This new financing option is a variation on what’s known as a “block grant,” which would end the federal government’s open-ended promise to finance Medicaid coverage for whoever needs it, however much it costs. Republicans have historically promoted block grants as a way to limit or reduce Medicaid spending, and many experts believe such proposals would lead to cuts in enrollment or benefits that would harm beneficiaries. That potential has stirred up opposition and helps explain why Medicaid block grants have never gotten the support they needed to get through Congress. (Jonathan Cohn, 1/30)
Los Angeles Times: Trump Offers The Wrong Fix For Medicaid’s Shortcomings
Giving states more flexibility to innovate in pursuit of Medicaid’s mission is undeniably a good thing, which is why the Medicaid statute gives the administration that authority. The challenge, though, is making sure the innovation improves the quality, accessibility and efficiency of the care that poor Americans receive. Otherwise, states will have a powerful incentive to save money simply by providing less care and leaving more people uninsured. So far, the Trump administration hasn’t met that challenge. (1/31)
The Hill: Medicaid Block Grants Would Gut Law And Cut Care
Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new policy that tries to undo the Medicaid program as it has existed for 55 years. HHS attempts to convert Medicaid to a block grant program, a Holy Grail for many conservatives. But any block grant system would be illegal, and if implemented, would leave many without necessary medical care. (Nicole Huberfeld, 1/31)
St. Louis Post Dispatch: After The 2017 Deficit-Busting Tax Cut, Administration Weighs Medicare Cuts
President Donald Trump last month opened the possibility of cutting Medicare and other entitlement programs, which would break a promise he made during the 2016 campaign. All indications are that the administration wants to justify such cuts as necessary to offset a federal budget deficit that is nearing the $1 trillion mark, its highest level in almost a decade. That deficit, according to nonpartisan government experts, is largely the result of the massive tax cut, primarily benefiting the rich, that Trump and Republicans rammed through in 2017. You remember, the one that was supposed to “pay for itself” in historic economic growth rates that never materialized. (2/2)
Stat: More Americans Have Insurance, But Not The Health Care They Need
The signing of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 ushered in the largest expansion in the number of Americans covered by health insurance since the implementation of Medicare and Medicaid more than 50 years ago. The ACA provided health new coverage to 19 million previously uninsured working-age people, allowing many of them to afford the care they need. In spite of that expansion of insurance coverage, though, Americans’ ability to afford care is no better now than it was two decades ago.In a study we published last week in JAMA Internal Medicine, we and several colleagues showed that Americans actually have more unmet health care needs today than they had two decades ago. (Laura Hawks and Danny McCormick, 2/3)
The Washington Post: You’d Think Trump Would Stop Threatening Insurance Coverage By Now. Think Again.
Notwithstanding the progress under Obamacare, the United States still does not provide health insurance to all of its population. About 27.5 million people, or 8.5 percent of the population, lacked coverage throughout 2018, according to the most recent Census Bureau report published in September. The country has moved in the wrong direction since President Trump took office: The 2018 uninsured numbers were up over 2017. (2/2)
Des Moines Register: If GOP Wants To Preserve Obamacare Protections, Stop Trying To Destroy The Law
Some Iowa lawmakers want to prohibit health insurance companies from denying coverage to Iowans with pre-existing medical problems. Legislation being considered includes Senate Study Bill 3033, introduced by Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale. It would go into effect only if the Affordable Care Act is deemed unconstitutional. It’s worth pausing to appreciate the irony of this. A GOP lawmaker is seeking to remedy potential damage if a lawsuit brought by GOP-led states and backed by a GOP president is successful in dismantling protections put in place by Obamacare. Perhaps this is a sign Republicans are starting to understand the value of the ACA. It took only a decade. (1/31)
The Hill: Public Worker Health And Safety Hinges On Protecting Our Rights
A bill making it easier to join a union is coming up for a vote in the U.S. House, and passing it is a matter of life or death. Just ask registered nurses. Every day, we go to work in an immoral health care industry that values profits over people. Our corporate hospital employers assign us far too many patients to safely care for at once, increasing the chance of harmful patient outcomes and nurse distress. The hospitals often barely stock our supply closets using cost-cutting methods lifted from the auto industry, without regard to the fact that our patients are human beings, not cars. (Bonnie Castillo, 2/2)
Boston Globe: Baker’s Detailed Prescription For Health Care
The omnibus legislation filed by Governor Charlie Baker, a former health care CEO, aims to use government’s regulatory hammer to get health care facilities to increase their spending on primary care and behavioral health care by 30 percent over the next three years. Currently, such expenditures account for less than 15 percent of total health care dollars. (2/3)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
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