Happy 2018! We took a break over the holidays to restore ourselves and connect with family and community and hope you did, too. Health care advocates deserved time to celebrate and reflect after achieving monumental success in preventing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and drastic cuts to Medicaid in 2017.
Today, Families USA and 125 community, provider, labor, and patient organizations sent a letter urging Congress to take immediate action to address the post-hurricane health crises in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and ensure that the nearly 4 million U.S. citizens living in those territories are able to obtain the health care they need. View letter.
Recently, the state of Wisconsin submitted an application to the federal government seeking Medicaid waiver authority to make drug testing a condition of eligibility for the state’s adult Medicaid program--BadgerCare. This request breaks dangerous new ground; drug testing has never been allowed as part of the application process in the Medicaid program. That’s because it is illegal, it will make it harder for everyone applying for Medicaid, and it will hurt rather than help those with substance use disorders.
If funding for CHIP is not renewed, as many as 2 million kids may lose the health coverage that they have today. Our infographic and resource page has materials about the benefits of CHIP to help advocates make the case for Congress to renew funding.
If the state and local tax deduction (“SALT deduction”) is eliminated or greatly reduced, it could spell big state Medicaid cuts. Here’s why the state and local tax deduction matters for Medicaid:
One of the most destructive ways the tax bill attacks health care has gotten the least attention.
In addition to kicking people off coverage by repealing the individual mandate and setting the stage for huge funding cuts down the road because of the ballooning deficit, the tax bill will sap states’ ability to fund vital health care programs.
Blueprint for Health Care Advocacy: How Community Health Workers Are Driving Health Equity and Value in New Mexico
Across the health care system, there is tremendous interest and momentum in reforming the way health care is delivered and paid for in order to improve health care quality and outcomes and at the same time, reduce costs. These reform efforts create an enormous opportunity to improve resources, infrastructure, and incentives for interventions to meaningfully reduce racial and ethnic health disparities. Yet, if these reforms are not designed and implemented carefully, they could actually end up making these disparities worse.
In the 2017 elections, Maine voters took control at the ballot box to expand health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion. The decisive win--with nearly 60 percent of the vote-- shows the popular support for Medicaid expansion in Maine, where the governor has vetoed the state legislature's repeated efforts to expand coverage.
The lesson of the campaign will be shared in the coming year with other states like Utah and Idaho, where ballot initiatives give voters a chance to move Medicaid expansion efforts ahead after years of stalling by conservative policymakers.
Today, in a speech to the National Association of Medicaid Directors, CMS Administrator Seema Verma announced that the Trump Administration is approving Medicaid waivers that impose work requirements on adults. These requirements are a deplorable break with decades of Medicaid policy, a threat to the one in five Americans who depend on the Medicaid program, and an abuse of the Medicaid waiver authority. This decision is wrong both on legal and policy grounds.
Mostly by granting huge tax breaks to the wealthy and large corporations, the new tax bill would increase the federal deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years.
If a tax bill that explodes the deficit becomes law, it will set the stage for massive cuts to health programs like Medicaid, marketplace financial assistance, and Medicare. Health care consumers and their advocates thus need to pay careful attention to the tax debate.