November 8, 2017

What Maine's Medicaid Expansion Victory Means for Health Care

Patrick Willard

Senior Director of State and National Strategic Partnerships

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.

November 7, 2017

Veterans Rely on Medicaid—So Let’s Make Sure It's There When They Need It

Andrea Callow

Associate Director of Medicaid Initiatives

On Veterans Day, we honor the servicemen and servicewomen who have sacrificed for our country. A critical way lawmakers can do right by veterans is to ensure they have comprehensive health coverage.

There is a common misconception that all vets are covered under the Veterans Administration (VA) health plan, but only 40 percent of all veterans were enrolled in the VA in 2014. Millions of veterans—1 in 10—use Medicaid to either supplement VA coverage, or as their only source of health insurance.

November 6, 2017

CHIP Stories Highlight Need for Action

Cate Bonacini

Director of Storytelling Initiatives

While Congress delays extending CHIP funding, states are grappling with what they might do if the money doesn’t come soon. Utah announced that it would restrict eligibility benefits, while Minnesota sought to use unspent funds from other programs. In the coming weeks, more and more states will begin to announce what they will do. 

Lost in the reporting about the political negotiations over CHIP is the impact this funding delay could have on the 9 million children on CHIP and their families. 

November 3, 2017

The Republican Tax Plan Opens the Door to Trillions in Health Care Cuts

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.

November 3, 2017

5 Reasons Why You Need to Come to Health Action 2018

Raven Gomez

Campaigns Associate

Families USA’s Health Action 2018 conference will play a critical role in shaping the future direction of health care, and you really can’t afford to miss it! This year, we will be “Staying Strong for America’s Families”, as we continue to fight for quality, affordable health care for all. If you still haven’t registered, here are five reasons why you won’t want to miss Health Action 2018:

October 31, 2017

Open Enrollment is Here: Resources to Get Covered

Maria Walawender

Health Equity Intern

The Affordable Care Act marketplace is open! During Open Enrollment, occurring from November 1 to December 15, 2017, consumers can enroll in health coverage for 2018. No one can be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition and all health insurance plans include free preventive services and cover a set of essential health benefits.

Enrollment assistance is available to anyone looking to enroll through the marketplace. Since last year there have been changes to plan options and pricing, so it is important to shop around for a plan that is the right fit. However, no changes have been made to the financial assistance that is available to help people afford coverage and care, and most people who shop on the marketplace qualify for financial help. 

October 31, 2017

The House CHIP Bill Includes Harmful, Partisan Funding Mechanisms

Andrea Callow

Associate Director of Medicaid Initiatives

Stan Dorn

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

While Democrats and Republicans agree that funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) should be extended for five years, the House Republicans recently released a partisan proposal that would rely on harmful policy changes to finance CHIP and community health centers. 

A month past the deadline to renew expiring CHIP funding, Congress still has not come together to advance a bipartisan bill that continues more than 9 million children's health coverage. For October, states and the federal government patched together enough funding to keep the program afloat. Beginning in November, however, a growing number of states will start sending families notices that their children are losing or being denied CHIP, despite qualifying for coverage. 

October 27, 2017

CBO Gives Congress One More Reason to Support Alexander-Murray Bill

Stan Dorn

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

A bipartisan bill that seeks to stabilize health insurance markets got some welcome news from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) this week. 

Sponsored by Senators Alexander (R-TN), Murray (D-WA), and 22 other Senators evenly divided between parties, the legislation would guarantee promised federal payments to insurers of cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) furnished to low-wage, working families. It would also fund outreach and enrollment efforts while making other changes to current law. On October 25, CBO found that such changes would save the federal government $3.8 billion over 10 years. 

October 24, 2017

Maine's Ballot Initiative to Expand Medicaid

Sophia Tripoli

Director of Health Care Innovations

A critical test of the popularity of the Affordable Care Act will take place in less than three weeks. On Nov. 7, voters in Maine will cast a vote on Question 2, a ballot initiative to expand Medicaid.

The election will determine whether efforts to expand access to health care that have been stymied by the state’s governor can be won at the ballot box.

October 13, 2017

Ending Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments Will Wreak Havoc on Families

Yesterday, President Trump and Acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan announced the “immediate” end of payments to fund cost-sharing reductions (CSRs). Coming three weeks before open enrollment, this is the most malicious and harmful attack yet by the Trump Administration on the Affordable Care Act. It will wreak extreme havoc on health care for America’s families. CSR payments cover insurers’ cost of lowering deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for almost 6 million marketplace enrollees in low-wage, working families.

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