July 11, 2018

The Family Separation Crisis: A Problematic Vetting Process, Challenges After Reunification

Family separation - even for short periods of time - is distressing, traumatic and damaging to the health and well-being of children and parents. Longer periods of separation will lead to sustained and heightened distress and “toxic stress” that will have physiological effects on a child’s neuroendocrine and immune systems, stress regulatory system, and brain development with long-term implications for their health and well-being.

The vetting process that the administration is using to reunite parents with their children is wholly inappropriate. The process, established by the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPRA), requires background checks of sponsors, in-person checks of where the child would live, and a full screening of people who live in that home. The judge in the ACLU lawsuit has ruled that while the government should be mindful of the best interest of each child it releases, it does not have to follow every single step of the process established by TVPRA as it was designed for screening non-parental sponsors of unaccompanied children to assure that potential placements are safe and appropriate. This process was not intended to assess placement of children who entered the U.S. together with their parents.

Short Analysis
July 2018

CMS Suspends Risk Adjustment Program, Endangering Health of Millions

On July 7, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a policy change that could fundamentally undermine the individual market, endangering health care for millions of people who get health care through the individual marketplace. CMS announced it will not distribute more than $10 billion out of a "risk adjustment" pool which is funded by insurers who participate in the individual and small-business markets. The risk adjustment program collects funds from insurers that cover healthier people and redistributes those funds to plans that have sicker enrollees.

Short Analysis
July 2018

Four Ways Our Health Care Is at Risk in the Supreme Court Nomination Fight

With last night’s announcement of Brett Kavanaugh as President Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, a confirmation battle begins in earnest in the Senate. In the coming years, federal courts will be hearing cases that involve the basic pillars of our health care system, jeopardizing the health care of millions of people. Between now and 2020, there is a significant chance that the Supreme Court could decide on any or all of the following major health care issues:

July 3, 2018

In Cynical Move, Kentucky Governor Bevin Cuts Vision and Dental Care to Retaliate Against Court’s Medicaid Ruling

Patrick Willard

Senior Director of State and National Strategic Partnerships

Suppose you wanted to help a homeless veteran find a job, but the vet had some sore teeth and needed glasses. Wouldn’t it make sense to cover the oral health and vision care to help him?

That won’t happen in Kentucky, where state officials abruptly eliminated oral health and vision care for the 460,000 adults who are on the state’s Medicaid program. The decision followed a court ruling a day earlier that struck down a mandate for those on the program to find jobs or lose benefits.

June 25, 2018

The Trump Administration Continues Its Attacks on Immigrant Families

Shadi Houshyar, Ph.D.

Director of Early Childhood and Child Welfare Initiatives

Facing mounting public pressure, President Trump issued an executive order on June 20 that it would hold families together in immigrant detention as their cases are processed, effectively shifting the administration’s position from forced family separation to family incarceration.

Short Analysis
June 2018

Family Separation Is Harmful to Children’s Health

The Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy went into effect on April 6, separating children from parents who arrive without documentation—including those legally seeking asylum--at the U.S. border. Between April 19 and May 31, 2018, nearly 2,000 children were separated from their parents under the new policy. Although not the first administration to separate immigrant children from their parents, the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy means that the practice of separating families has grown dramatically and will continue to grow, overwhelming an already precarious system, with devastating consequences for children, families, neighborhoods, and communities across the country.

What we know without a doubt is that separating children from their parents is harmful to children, traumatic for families and goes against our basic American values. This Trump administration must stop this cruel practice and instead put the best interest of children and families ahead of its own political agenda. The president can and should immediately end this practice of family separation.

June 12, 2018

Budget Proposal Would Allow States To Drop Medicaid Transportation Benefits Across The Entire Program

Dr. Marsha Simon

The Trump administration’s fiscal year 2019 budget request signals that the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) intends to use regulatory authority to allow states to drop the Medicaid non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) benefit. This benefit has been part of Medicaid since the program’s inception in 1966. Changing that would be a stunning precedent, reversing more than 50 years of Medicaid policy. 

Issue Brief
June 2018

How States Can Use Medicaid Managed Care Contracts to Support Community Health Workers

Medicaid managed care contracting is a promising pathway for securing more sustainable funding for community health workers (CHWs). This issue brief provides examples of contract language that can be used to incentivize or require Medicaid managed care organizations to utilize and fund CHWs and considerations for advocates looking to improve support for CHWs through this pathway.


June 7, 2018

Four Big Problems with Michigan’s Medicaid Waiver Legislation Aside from the Work Requirement

Today, the Michigan legislature passed a bill that imposes new work and premium requirements on its huge Medicaid expansion population. Families USA and other organizations have written extensively about how work requirements don't belong in a health care program like Medicaid and how Michigan’s legislation is particularly poorly designed and punitive. But the version of the bill that just passed includes several other major problems.

June 6, 2018

Congress Takes Steps to Address Substance Use Disorder; More Action Needed

Jane Sheehan

Senior Government Affairs Manager

Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is a massive public health emergency facing the United States, costing tens of thousands of lives per year and touching every community. Over the past few months, Congress has prioritized addressing this crisis with hearings and legislation aimed at the opioids crisis in particular.


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