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Medicaid

The Coming Medicaid Purge

Since the start of the pandemic, Medicaid, the federal and state program to provide health insurance to low income Americans, has been far more generous than in the past. Enrollment is higher than ever, at 77.8 million. This isn’t because of some nationwide change of heart in state governments; it’s because states were paid to stop cutting people from their Medicaid rolls. Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the first coronavirus relief bill passed in March 2020, states received a 6.2 percent boost in federal Medicaid funding in exchange for halting disenrollments. The usual process of conducting “redeterminations,” in which states redetermine whether a beneficiary’s income levels or other factors still qualify them for Medicaid, has been paused for almost two years.

Democrats’ Toothless Drug Pricing Alternative Is A Coup For Big Pharma

Under the Build Back Better Act, Congress can expand and strengthen Medicare and Medicaid, improving the lives of millions of seniors while also throwing a lifeline to folks living in states where GOP politicians are strangling public benefits. But to win these popular reforms, we have to defeat the efforts of Big Pharma, their greedy lobbyists and the politicians who take their money. It wasn’t enough for Democratic Representatives Kurt Schrader of Oregon, Scott Peters of California, Kathleen Rice of New York and Stephanie Murphy of Florida to vote against a robust bill that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3).

Missourians Did An End-Around Their Legislature To Expand Medicaid

For almost a decade, advocates in Missouri have been lobbying their legislators to expand Medicaid coverage in the red state. Since the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act was optional, 36 states plus Washington, D.C., have adopted and implemented the expansion. In those states where coverage has not been expanded, the decision has come at a devastating cost to Americans who fall into the "coverage gap," advocates said. "When the Affordable Care Act was originally passed, folks who were making up to 138% of the federal poverty level were supposed to be on Medicaid.

A New Nonviolent Medicaid Army Is On The March

Across the United States, poor and dispossessed people cannot wait for our politicians to act. This week, in states including Kansas, Maine, Alabama, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Vermont, and Pennsylvania, people are coming together in “Medicaid Marches” to demand their right to health and healthcare. They know that Black people are dying at twice the rate of white people and that poverty is the highest risk factor for people of all races. They know that the United States now accounts for over 20 percent of worldwide deaths, despite having only 5 percent of the world’s population and that this was entirely preventable.

On Medicare And Medicaid’s 55th Birthday, Let’s Expand Benefits

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law. This crowning achievement was both the culmination of a decades-long effort to attain guaranteed universal health insurance and the first step in the quest for Medicare for All. In the 55 years since the legislation was signed into law, both programs have proven their worth. Before Medicare, about half of seniors lacked health insurance. They were an illness away from bankruptcy. Today, 99.1 percent of Americans 65 and older are insured, thanks to Medicare.

Medicaid Work Requirements Struck Down By Unanimous Federal Court Of Appeals

In a decision which warmed my heart on a cold Valentine’s Day here in Washington, the federal Court of Appeals issued an unanimous opinion striking down the Arkansas work requirements waiver.  In doing so, it upheld district court Judge Boasberg’s decision vacating the Arkansas’ Section 1115 waiver (including most famously Medicaid work requirements) because it was “arbitrary and capricious” and therefore violated the Administrative Procedures Act.

An Unhappy Birthday For Medicare And Medicaid

July 30 marks a very important anniversary in our modern political history. Fifty-three years ago in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law, creating two programs that would disproportionately improve the lives of older and low-income Americans — especially women. Fast-forward to 2018, and both programs are very much under siege. Nowhere is the struggle starker than in the House Republican budget — titled “A Brighter American Future” — now on Capitol Hill. The importance of Medicare as a source of women’s health coverage can’t be over-emphasized. Older and disabled women make up more than half the total beneficiaries, and two-thirds of those 85 and over.

Kentucky Governor Retaliates Against Poor After Court Rejects Medicaid Changes

GOP cruelty is not new, but it seems to be reaching new depths. Case in point: In Kentucky, Gov. Matt Bevin is now using the lives of Medicaid patients like pieces on a chessboard in an act of revenge and political spectacle. Governor Bevin’s administration announced that he would deprive Medicaid patients of dental and vision benefits, effective immediately. This unilateral (and some say illegal) maneuver impacts 460,000 peoplein Kentucky. This occurred just hours after a federal court stopped his Kentucky Health plan, which would throw people off Medicaid with work requirements, deductibles and other administrative and economic obstacles. The case in question is Stewart v. Azar. Through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Trump administration announced new guidelines in January to remake the program in the GOP’s image.

Rural Whites Shielded From Medicaid Work Requirement Rules

In April, President Trump signed an executive order allowing some Medicaid recipients to be exempted from requirements that they find  jobs or lose their health insurance. Now, the states taking advantage of the order, called “Reducing Poverty in America,” are facing scrutiny for allegedly creating policies that, as Talking Points Memo (TMP) reports, “would in practice shield many rural, white residents from the impact of the new rules.” Kentucky and Ohio are applying for the waivers that the executive order allows. Each of their proposals include exemptions for the counties with the highest unemployment, which happen to be mostly white, GOP-voting and rural. In contrast, according to TMP, “many low-income people of color who live in high-unemployment urban centers would not qualify...

Patients Protest MedStar’s Policies At Union Memorial Hospital

A spirited protest action was held at MedStar’s Union Memorial Hospital on Thursday morning, May 10, 2018. The hospital is located at 3333 N. Calvert Street, at 33rd Street & University Parkway, in Baltimore. About 40 activists showed up for the rally/press conference, which was sourced by the Maryland branch of “Health Care is a Human Right” (HCHR)” campaign. MedStar was the target of the protest action. The protesters charged that the institution had recently arbitrarily dropped Dr. Shawn Dhillon, a primary care doctor at Union Memorial for 20 years.” This action was supposedly done without cause by cutting him from “MedStar’s insurance plans.” This also had the effect of terminating half of the patients in his practice.

Debate Over Strategy For National Improved Medicare For All Continues

On February 1, Margaret Flowers posted “Which Path to National Improved Medicare for All?”, which argued that states cannot enact single payer health systems and that a state-by-state approach will not lead to National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA). The article was intended to stimulate debate about strategies to win NIMA. Kip Sullivan, a single payer activist in Minnesota, responded to some of the points in the article. His arguments were discussed by the Health Over Profit for Everyone steering committee. Below are summaries of Sullivan’s responses and our rebuttals (Sullivan’s full response and the rebuttals are provided at the bottom). Please use the comment section and our Facebook page to keep this discussion going.

Spring 2018 Single Payer Action Camp

Health Over Profit for Everyone, in partnership with the Backbone Campaign, is offering the first Single Payer Action Camp to build participant's skills in strategy, messaging and direct action to win National Improved Medicare for All. The camp will include workshops on tools for developing strategic campaigns, how to make your message visible, creating media, nonviolent direct action and more. We will put those skills to use on Monday and Tuesday through actions in Washington, DC.

Kentucky Medicaid Enrollees Sue To Block Work Requirement Waiver

Groups representing Kentucky Medicaid beneficiaries sued the federal government Wednesday to block the state from implementing its Medicaid waiver program that includes a work requirement. The proposed class action complaint alleges the changes, which include premiums, cost-sharing and a controversial work requirement, will lead to substantial reductions in Medicaid coverage. The CMS approved Kentucky's Medicaid waiver application this month. The controversial work requirement means able-bodied beneficiaries will have to complete 80 hours per month of community engagement activities, such as employment, education, job skills training or community service to maintain their Medicaid eligibility.

More Trouble Ahead: Puerto Rico’s Impending Medicaid Crisis

By Lara Merling and Jake Johnston for CEPR - Already in the midst of a fiscal crisis, Puerto Rico faces a long road to recovery from Hurricane Maria, a devastating storm it was ill-equipped to handle. The urgent efforts to address both the humanitarian needs and damage caused by the storm must also extend to solving the island’s imminent Medicaid crisis, a preexisting condition that plagued Puerto Rico before the hurricane and that has been exacerbated by it. This paper examines the inadequate federal support received by Puerto Rico for its Medicaid program, and shows that ― barring immediate action from the US Congress ― the territory will not have sufficient funds to continue operating in 2018. While the cost of living is higher in Puerto Rico than the US average, health care services are the only item that is significantly less costly on the island. Using 2016 Medicaid costs and looking at known migration patterns, we calculate what the federal government and states are likely to pay for providing Medicaid for Puerto Ricans moving to US states from 2018 to 2027 using two different migration scenarios.

Protesters Rise Up To Block Health Care Repeal

By Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. Washington, DC - With the September 30 deadline for the budget reconciliation process looming, Senate Republicans attempted once again to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Senators Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and Dr. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana submitted legislation last week that would end the Medicaid expansion, cut federal funds for Medicaid and allow states to decide that insurers could deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. States would also no longer have to require that insurers cover essential benefits, as defined in the ACA. The bill seemed dead by the end of last week when Senator John McCain announced that he would vote against it. But Senators Graham and Cassidy went into high gear over the weekend to add extra funding for states like Alaska, Maine and Arizona to encourage their support. Activists throughout the country also geared up to fight back.
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