July 24, 2018

Advancing A Health System Transformation Agenda Focused On Achieving Health Equity

There has been an important and ongoing effort over the past decade to address the manifest failures of our health care system by changing payment and provider organization to reward value and not volume. But transformation efforts largely ignore one of our system’s most fundamental problems: persistent, extensive, severe, and costly health and health care inequities based on race, ethnicity, and geography, among other factors. 

July 11, 2018

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

Shadi Houshyar, Ph.D.

Director of Early Childhood and Child Welfare Initiatives

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.

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. 

June 6, 2018

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

Jane Sheehan

Senior Federal Relations 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.

June 6, 2018

Protecting Medicaid in Kentucky: Q&A with Emily Beauregard

Kentucky’s successful Medicaid expansion is in jeopardy. The Trump administration approved the state’s request to impose work requirements on people who get health coverage through Medicaid which would lead to people being kicked off the program. 

May 31, 2018

Congress and the Trump Administration Should Put Their Money Where Their Mouths Are on Gun Violence Research

Back in March, in the wake of just one in a long line of tragic and senseless mass shootings, Families USA organized a letter to Congress signed by more than 170 national and state organizations calling for an end to the “Dickey Amendment.” The Dickey Amendment, enacted by Congress in 1996, forbids any funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that “may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”

May 22, 2018

Third-Party Payment Programs Help Consumers Afford Insurance

Stan Dorn

Director of the National Center for Coverage Innovation and Senior Fellow, Families USA

Third-party payment programs can improve affordability and increase enrollment for low-income consumers without triggering adverse selection.

This week, the Commonwealth Fund published my research report describing several successful programs, primarily local, that use hospital dollars to increase enrollment into marketplace coverage by lowering premium costs for low-income, uninsured consumers.

April 20, 2018

A Culture of Racial Discrimination Is Incompatible with a Culture of Health

Elena Sanchez Thorpe

Racial discrimination in the United States is pervasive and affects health outcomes and access to health care on multiple levels—from the interpersonal, to the institutional, to deeper structural divides. Such ingrained racism creates significant barriers for people of color, making it harder for them to get equal access to jobs, housing, education, and health care services.


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