Posts tagged with "Medicaid"

Warren: Congress must enact federal laws protecting abortion rights

May 20, 2019

Responding to a flurry of state-level anti-abortion laws, 2020 presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) said on March 17 that Congress must pass federal laws to protect access to birth control and reproductive care, The Huffington Post reported. .

She posted on Medium, outlining the type of federal actions needed, should challenges from jurisdictions with anti-abortion laws lead the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that ensures a woman’s right to an abortion.

“Court challenges will continue. And the next President can begin to undo some of the damage by appointing neutral and fair judges who actually respect the law and cases like Roe instead of right-wing ideologues bent on rolling back constitutional rights,” Warren wrote. “But separate from these judicial fights, Congress has a role to play as well.”

The senator said Congress must create federal, statutory rights that parallel Roe v. Wade’s constitutional rights, according to the Huffington Post. These rights would include barring states from interfering in a provider’s ability to offer medical care or blocking patients’ access to such care, including abortions. This would invalidate state laws like those in Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio.

Warren also proposed that Congress enact laws to preempt states’ efforts to limit the chipping away of  reproductive healthcare in ways that don’t necessarily violate Roe v. Wade. Such efforts include restrictions on medication abortion; and geographical and procedural requirements that make it nearly impossible for a woman to get an abortion.

Congress also must repeal the Hyde Amendment,  a 40-year-old policy that blocks abortion coverage for women under federally funded health care programs like Medicaid, Veterans Affairs, and the Indian Health Service, according to Warren. She added that conversations about reproductive health access and coverage should include immigrant women.

To ensure equal access to reproductive health care, Warren wrote, Congress must terminate President Donald Trump’s gag rule on abortion clinics and support Title X funding for family planning. She added that lawmakers must also prevent violence at clinics and discrimination based on women’s choices about their own bodies—adding that Congress must “ensure access to contraception, STI prevention and care, comprehensive sex education, care for pregnant moms, safe home and work environments, adequate wages, and so much more.

“This is a dark moment. People are scared and angry. And they are right to be,” Warren wrote. “But this isn’t a moment to back down ― it’s time to fight back.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Mitch McConnell: GOP intends to gut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid after midterms

October 26, 2018

It’s the talk of the Beltway, according to the Los Angeles Times: Did Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) just admit that the GOP intends to dismantle Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid after the midterm elections?

The scuttlebutt started, the Times reported on October 19, after the Senate majority leader gave an interview to Bloomberg  on October 16, in which he singled out “entitlements”—that’s political code for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—as “the real drivers of the debt” and called for them to be adjusted “to the demographics of the future.”

To make it short and sweet, McConnell intends to cut benefits.

Indeed, Bloomberg said, the Senate Majority Leader blamed rising federal deficits and debt on “a bipartisan unwillingness to contain spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.”

What’s more, although Republican legislators spent most of last winter trying to gut the Affordable Care Act, McConnell also telegraphed a plan to try again to repeal healthcare coverage after the midterm elections.

That’s despite indications that the ACA is becoming more popular with the public, not less, and voters’ concerns about preserving its protections for those with preexisting conditions may be driving them to the polls — and not to vote Republican. A poll released on October 18 by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, found that fully 71% of U.S. voters say healthcare is the most important issue driving them to the polls in the midterm elections.

In an October 17 interview with Reuters, McConnell commented that the GOP’s failure to repeal the ACA was “the one disappointment of this Congress from a Republican point of view.”  He said Republicans could try again to repeal Obamacare if they win enough seats in U.S. elections next month.

The CBO projects the current fiscal year deficit at $973 billion, and says it expects annual deficits to exceed $1 trillion into the next decade. The CBO attributed much of the deficit to “recently enacted legislative changes. … In particular, provisions of the 2017 tax act.”

The Congressional Budget office sees things differently. The CBO projects the current fiscal year deficit at $973 billion, and says it expects annual deficits to exceed $1 trillion into the next decade. The CBO attributed much of the deficit to “recently enacted legislative changes. … In particular, provisions of the 2017 tax act.”

Research contact: @hitzikm

Medicaid expansion linked to better, more timely surgical care

February 16, 2018

The  Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion has been linked to better access to surgery—and higher-quality surgical care, at that—according to findings of a study  of 300,000 patients nationwide by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health released online in the January 24 edition of JAMA Surgery.

“What was most striking was that we saw significant improvements in the treatment of surgical conditions fairly quickly, less than two years after states expanded Medicaid coverage,” said lead author Andrew Loehrer, who conducted the study as a research fellow at Harvard Chan School.

Previous studies have examined the impact of the expansion of Medicaid by the ACA (also known as Obamacare) on a range of outcomes in medical areas such as  primary care, prescription medication use, and self-reported health— generally finding favorable results. But this is the first study showing similar benefits for serious conditions requiring surgery.

The researchers looked at five years’ worth of data from patients across 42 U.S. states who were admitted to hospitals for one of five common surgical conditions: appendicitis, cholecystitis, diverticulitis, peripheral artery disease (PAD), or aortic aneurysm. They analyzed trends in insurance coverage, timeliness of surgical care, and care outcomes—both before the ACA’s Medicaid expansion (2010-13) and after (2014-15)—comparing 27 states that chose to expand their Medicaid programs with 15 that chose not to expand.

The study found that Medicaid expansion was associated with:

  • A 7.5-percentage-point decrease in the probability of patients being uninsured;
  • An 8.6-percentage-point increased probability of patients having Medicaid;
  • A 1.8-percentage-point increase in the probability of patients seeking care earlier, before their surgical conditions became complicated; and
  • A 2.6-percentage-point increase in patients’ probability of receiving optimal care

They speculated that the ACA’s Medicaid expansion led patients with surgical conditions to seek treatment before complications set in. Being treated for these conditions earlier makes it more likely that they will have better health outcomes, the authors said.

“The fate of the ACA and Medicaid remain … a key policy debate,” said senior author Benjamin Sommers, associate professor of Health Policy and Economics at Harvard Chan School. “As policymakers continue to discuss major changes to the ACA, and the Trump administration advances reforms that could lead to fewer people covered by Medicaid, our findings provide important new evidence that Medicaid expansion is improving the quality of care for serious conditions affecting tens of thousands of Americans every year.”

Research contact: mhdwyer@hsph.harvard.edu

Medicaid work requirements put 6.3M Americans at risk of losing healthcare

January 16, 2018

On January 11, the Trump administration issued policy guidance that effectively ends Medicaid as Americans now know it— allowing states to place “punitive work requirements” on certain Medicaid recipients, according to the American Center for Progress.

Some states and the Trump administration have opined that the American Healthcare Act (ACA) Medicaid expansion is targeting “able-bodied” adults and seeking to make Medicaid eligibility contingent on work. However, more than seven in ten (70%) of those affected will be either caregivers or in school, the center claims, based on a recent Kaiser Family Foundation briefing paper.

New CAP analysis by Kaiser shows that at least 6.3 million Americans—including students, caregivers, and retirees—could be at risk of losing their healthcare. This includes nearly 640,000 people in the ten states that already have filed for waivers to implement Trump’s plan.

Analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that the majority—60%—of working-age adults who receive Medicaid already are employed. Of those who do not already have a job, more than one-third are ill or disabled.

The American Center for Progress states in a January 12 release, “Although these so-called work requirement policies may seem reasonable at first glance, in practice, they’re a way to strip away health insurance from struggling unemployed and underemployed workers. President Donald Trump’s actions are just the latest shoe to drop in his party’s deeply unpopular crusade to undermine Americans’ health care—including the highly  popular Medicaid program—and come on the heels of a tax cut that rewards the massively wealthy over working Americans.”

Research contact: rcollins@americanprogress.org