June brought us some encouraging highs and devastating lows in the world of health justice. This month, we remember the lives cut short in the Orlando shooting, who were mostly young LGBTQ people of color, and reflect on the health equity dimensions of the attack. On the positive side, we also have some progress to celebrate.
Beginning July 1, Louisiana will provide health coverage to more than 225,900 low-income adults after only one month of enrolling people in the state’s new Healthy Louisiana program. It is a remarkable success for the first state in the Deep South to embrace Medicaid expansion.
Section 1332 waivers can go into effect as early as January 2017, and advocates around the country have been watching to see what reforms states will propose. So far, two states—Vermont and Hawaii—have submitted proposals to the federal government that are now under review. Once HHS and Treasury deem the state’s application complete, they will post the applications for public comment. Here is the roundup of what states are requesting.
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) is the biggest change to how Medicare pays for services in decades. It will accelerate the movement towards value-based payments—where what health care providers get paid depends, at least partially, on the quality of care they provide, not just the volume of services. On June 27, Families USA submitted comments about how the law will be implemented.
Since he was elected in November, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has been threatening to recast a successful health care program to fit his political ideology. This week his administration released their proposal for a section 1115 waiver to make changes to its Medicaid expansion program. Many of the proposed changes are likely to harm the hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians who have coverage under the program.
Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Don would give himself a pep talk every time he stepped on a ladder. Don isn’t clumsy or afraid of heights—his primary worry was getting injured and racking up medical bills while he was uninsured. As an owner of an exterior construction company, Don gets on ladders and performs other potentially hazardous activities at work almost every day. Without health insurance, Don doesn’t know how he would support his family of four if he got injured or sick.
Thanks to new regulations released by the Obama administration last month, the right to receive health care without discrimination is stronger than ever before. Health justice and health equity advocates across the nation celebrated the long-awaited release of the regulations implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.
In May, the Obama administration released new regulations that prohibit discrimination by health plans, health facilities, and health care programs. The rules implement Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, and build upon existing civil rights law. One important feature of this provision is that individuals who believe they have suffered discrimination when seeking health care can take action.
Things have been pretty busy in the health equity world since last month’s blog. In addition to celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we received news that uninsured rates are the lowest ever (woo-hoo!), Medi-Cal coverage for undocumented children in California became a reality, the long-awaited health anti-discrimination rule was published, as was the rule on Medicaid managed care.
The Families USA Health Action Team provides resources and consults on strategies for health care advocates around the country, working with our state and national partners. In this monthly blog, we’ll share news about our travels and progress on state policies.