Numbers released this week by the government show just a slight dip in the number of people enrolled in Affordable Care Act coverage next year through HealthCare.gov. That’s the case even though the Republican-led Congress repealed fines for being uninsured effective Jan. 1. The drop — from 8.8 million to 8.5 million — was far less than experts forecast.
The nation’s health care tab hit $3.5 trillion last year, or $10,739 per person, the government reported Thursday. But behind those staggering figures was some fairly good news: The rate of growth slowed for the second year in a row, according to economic experts at the federal Health and Human Services department. Health care spending increased by 3.9 percent in 2017, following a 4.8 percent increase in 2016.
The Trump administration has again approved new rules for some of Kentucky’s Medicaid population, requiring them to either get a job, volunteer in the community or go to school to keep their government-funded health coverage.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services announced the approval on Tuesday, nearly five months after a federal judge blocked the state’s first attempt. State officials say the new rules can begin as soon as April 1 and will be phased in regionally over several months. They will require adults ages 19 to 64, with some exceptions, to complete at least 80 hours per month of “community engagement” to keep their health benefits. That includes getting a job, looking for a job, going to school, volunteering for community service or taking a job training course.
Virginia is facing a huge bill for unexpected Medicaid costs that hamper proposed new spending on things like school improvements or tax breaks for the poor. State officials said Friday that Virginia has about $460 million in unforeseen Medicaid costs. Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne said much of the new costs stem from faulty forecasts overestimating the benefits of having private health insurers cover a greater number of some of the state’s more costly Medicaid recipients. Another reason for the increase is a higher-than-expected enrollment of children in the state’s Medicaid program, he said.
Maine’s Republican governor has said federal regulators want to know how Maine would pay for Medicaid expansion. But it’s unclear just how that issue will play out in Maine, the first state to pass Medicaid expansion under Republican President Trump’s administration.
States must file routine paperwork to get federal Medicaid expansion funding under former Democratic President Obama’s signature health care law. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services told The Associated Press on Tuesday that it works to ensure states pay for their share of an expansion with “proper” financing.
Maryland’s attorney general on Thursday filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s administration for recurring efforts he says are intended to dismantle the national health care law and chase people away from coverage.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court of Maryland comes as the latest push to scrap the Affordable Care Act has pressed ahead in Texas. Last week, 20 Republican-controlled states asked a federal judge to bring the law to a halt, arguing that the entire health statute was rendered unconstitutional after Congress repealed the “individual mandate” that required most Americans to buy insurance or risk a tax penalty.
In a recent tweet, the Bernie Sanders insists the plan will cut $2 trillion from the nation’s health care bill.But that’s based on a scenario in which hospitals and doctors accept significantly lower payments for many patients. It’s a big asterisk, and one that Sanders fails to disclose.
The Trump administration’s drive to wean poor people from government benefits by making them work has been slowed by a federal judge framing a fundamental question: Are poverty programs meant to show tough love or to help the needy?
U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg in Washington last week halted Kentucky’s first-in-the-nation experiment with Medicaid work requirements, ruling that the Trump administration glossed over potential coverage losses. He sent the state’s plan back to federal authorities for a harder look.
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