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University of Wisconsin–Madison
Poverty-related issues in the news, from the Institute for Research on Poverty

Tag: Health insurance coverage

State Medicaid Programs

  • Thousands in Arkansas lose Medicaid because of new work requirements, By Tami Luhby, September 6, 2018, CNN: “As many as 4,600 Medicaid recipients in Arkansas have lost their benefits for the rest of this year after failing to meet the state’s new work requirements. Arkansas became the first state ever to implement work requirements, after gaining approval from the Trump administration earlier this year. Under the new rules, which took effect in June, recipients must work, go to school, volunteer or search for jobs for at least 80 hours a month or be stripped of their coverage until the following year…”
  • Medicaid expansion would impact wide range of Nebraska workers, study finds, By Don Walton, September 7, 2018, Lincoln Journal Star: “Voter approval of Medicaid expansion in Nebraska would have the greatest impact on food service workers, as expected, but also cover a wide range of working Nebraskans engaged in other job activities…”
  • One-third of New Yorkers are on Medicaid, similar programs, By Joseph Spector, September 5, 2018, Democrat and Chronicle: “More than one-third of New Yorkers are now on Medicaid or other publicly funded health-care plans, a spike of 57 percent over the past decade, a new report found. The findings from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoliin a report Wednesday highlighted New Yorkers’ growing dependency on health-insurance programs run by the state and federal government amid uncertainty over the programs’ future in Washington…”

States and Medicaid Expansion

  • Red-state voters look to expand Medicaid this fall, despite Trump’s enduring hostility to Obamacare, By Noam N. Levey, August 24, 2018, Los Angeles Times: “Even as President Trump launches new attacks on the Affordable Care Act, voters in four deep red states are poised this fall to expand access to government Medicaid coverage through the 2010 law, often called Obamacare. Nebraska last week became the fourth state to qualify a Medicaid expansion initiative for the November ballot, giving voters there the chance to do an end-run around the state’s Republican political leaders who have fought the healthcare law for years…”
  • Thousands plead with the feds to stop Bevin’s Medicaid overhaul, By Deborah Yetter, August 28, 2018, Louisville Courier Journal: “Some people are profoundly grateful, including this Kentuckian with pancreatic disease. ‘I am so thankful for Medicaid expansion,’ the person said in comments posted on a  federal website. ‘Without it I would be dead.’ Others express anger and fear the potential loss of health coverage from Medicaid under changes proposed by Gov. Matt Bevin that include work requirements and monthly premiums for some Kentuckians…”

Medicaid Work Requirements

  • Thousands could lose Medicaid coverage as states enforce work requirements, By Stephanie Ebbs, August 17, 2018, ABC News: “Thousands of Americans — many low-income — are at risk of losing Medicaid health care insurance coverage as states implement work requirements pushed and approved by the Trump administration…”
  • Kentucky governor loses another round in Medicaid fight, By Bruce Schreiner (AP), ABC News: “Kentucky’s Republican governor lost another round Monday in a legal fight over his efforts to revamp the state’s Medicaid program to require poor people to get a job to keep their benefits…”
  • Oklahoma officials say challenges ahead for Medicaid work requirement, By Meg Wingerter, August 22, 2018, The Oklahoman: “Matilda Williams doesn’t rely on Soonercare for her insurance, but she still decided to make the hourlong drive from Seminole on Tuesday to state her opposition to proposed work requirements. Williams, 70, was one of a handful of members of the public who attended a forum held by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority on Tuesday afternoon at Variety Care’s Lafayette clinic…”

Kids Count Report – New Jersey

  • New Jersey kids better off than most in U.S., but poverty rates vary widely by county, By Nina Feldman, August 22, 2018, WHYY: “Overall, children in New Jersey are better off than other kids around the country. About 15 percent of kids in the Garden State live in poverty, while the national average is 21 percent. That’s according to the annual Kids Count report released Tuesday that rates each county in the categories of family economics, health, education, and child safety…”
  • Percentage of uninsured kids in New Jersey reaches all-time low, By Stephanie Noda, August 22, 2018, North Jersey Record: “The rate of uninsured children in New Jersey is at an ‘all-time low,’ according a new report from a children’s advocacy group.  The 2018 New Jersey Kids Count County Rankings, which is produced by the Advocates for Children of New Jersey, reported a 32 percent drop in the number of children without health insurance between 2012 and 2016, from nearly 103,000 to just over 70,000…”

Health Care for Foster Children

Foster parents often struggle to find doctors to treat the kids in their care, By Phil Galewitz, August 22, 2018, National Public Radio: “Sherri and Thomas Croom have been foster parents to 27 children — from newborns to teenagers — during the past decade. That has meant visits to dozens of doctors and dentists for issues ranging from a tonsillectomy to depression. While foster parenting has innumerable challenges, health care coverage for the children isn’t one of them. Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor, picks up the tab for nearly all children in foster care and often continues to cover them if they are adopted, regardless of their parents’ income. And as a result of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, foster kids who have Medicaid when they reach 18 can keep the coverage until they turn 26…”

Medicaid Programs

  • A judge blocked a Medicaid work requirement. The White House is undeterred., By Robert Pear, August 11, 2018, New York Times: “Trump administration officials, whose push to impose work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries was dealt a blow by a federal judge in June, say they have found a way around the ruling and will continue to allow states to put the restrictions in place…”
  • Trump’s Medicaid work requirements face new legal challenge, By Zachary Tracer and John Tozzi, August 14, 2018, Bloomberg: “Advocacy groups are mounting a new challenge to the Trump administration’s effort to limit health benefits for the poor by letting states impose work requirements. The suit, filed in federal district court for the District of Columbia Tuesday, seeks to block the U.S. Health and Human Services Department from allowing Arkansas to kick people off Medicaid if they’re not employed or looking for work…”
  • Diabetes: Medicaid expansion making meds more accessible, By Pauline Bartolone, August 13, 2018, Union Leader: “Low-income people with diabetes are better able to afford their medications and manage their disease in states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a new study suggests. The Health Affairs study, released last Monday, found a roughly 40 percent increase in the number of prescriptions filled for diabetes drugs in Medicaid programs of the 30 states (including Washington, D.C.) that expanded eligibility in 2014 and 2015, compared with prior years. By contrast, states that didn’t embrace the Medicaid expansion saw no notable increase…”
  • Ohio firing pharmacy middlemen that cost taxpayers millions, By Lucas Sullivan and Catherine Candisky, August 14, 2018, Columbus Dispatch: “The Ohio Department of Medicaid is changing the way it pays for prescription drugs, giving the boot to all pharmacy middlemen because they are using ‘spread pricing,’ a practice that has cost taxpayers hundreds of millions. Medicaid officials directed the state’s five managed care plans Tuesday to terminate contracts with pharmacy benefit managers using the secretive pricing method and move to a more transparent pass-through pricing model effective Jan. 1…”

Disability in the US

1 in 4 U.S. adults has a disability, CDC says, By Ashley Welch, August 16, 2018, CBS News: “New government research finds 61 million U.S. adults – about 1 in 4 Americans – have a disability that impacts a major part of their life. According to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common disability type, mobility, affects 1 in 7 adults. With age, disability becomes more common, affecting approximately 2 in 5 adults age 65 and older…”

State Medicaid Programs – Arkansas, Ohio

  • State’s Medicaid spending falls off; $22 million drop first in officials’ memory, By Andy Davis, August 6, 2018, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: “Arkansas’ Medicaid spending fell by $22 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30, the first annual drop in spending for the program state officials could remember. The overall decrease came despite slightly higher spending on Arkansas Works, as the expanded part of the state’s Medicaid program is known…”
  • Medicaid rule frustrates advocates for homeless, By Ginny Monk, August 9, 2018, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: “Homelessness service providers said they are confused and frustrated when it comes to filing for exemptions and reporting hours worked to the state so their homeless clients can keep their health insurance. At Wednesday’s monthly meeting of the Arkansas Homeless Coalition, advocates said a difficult-to-maneuver filing system for good-cause exemptions related to homelessness, slow responses to phone calls for help and a website that isn’t always functional made the reporting process challenging…”
  • States question costs of middlemen that manage Medicaid drug benefits, By Alison Kodjak, August 8, 2018, National Public Radio: “Several states are questioning the cost of using pharmacy middlemen to manage their prescription drug programs in a movement that could shake up the complex system that manages how pharmaceuticals are priced and paid for…”

Medicaid Programs

  • Red states may be ready to expand Medicaid — in exchange for work, By Christine Vestal, July 30, 2018, Stateline: “Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin says he doesn’t want more able-bodied poor people to get Medicaid in his state unless a portion of them are required to work. And when Republicans in Virginia agreed to expand Medicaid this year, they also said recipients who are able would have to work. In several states this year, the march to bring health care benefits to more low-income residents came with the insistence that able-bodied adults — who are just a fraction of all Medicaid recipients — put in hours of work or volunteer time each month to retain the assistance…”
  • Trump spurns Medicaid proposal after furious White House debate, By Robert Pear, July 30, 2018, New York Times: “Hoping to head off a full expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, some senior officials in the Trump administration and Republican governors have been pushing hard for a smaller expansion to satisfy a growing political demand in their states. But President Trump decided on Friday to shut down the debate until after the midterm elections, administration officials said…”
  • Puerto Rico’s wounded Medicaid program faces even deeper cuts, By Sarah Varney and Carmen Heredia Rodriguez, August 1, 2018, National Public Radio: “Blue tarps still dot rooftops, homes lack electricity needed to refrigerate medicines, and clinics chip away at debts incurred from running generators. Yet despite these residual effects from last year’s devastating hurricanes, Puerto Rico is moving ahead with major cuts to its health care safety net that will affect more than a million of its poorest residents…”
  • Major changes whipsaw Kentucky Medicaid in recent weeks, By Deborah Yetter, July 27, 2018, Louisville Courier Journal: “Kentucky’s Medicaid program has undergone several major changes in recent weeks, confusing health providers and some of the 1.4 million Kentuckians covered by the government health plan. Here’s a look at the major developments…”

States and Medicaid Expansion

  • As federal Medicaid money fades, how are states funding expansion?, By Mattie Quinn, July 23, 2018, Governing: “In his last few months in office, Maine Gov. Paul LePage is taking his yearslong battle against Medicaid expansion — a central provision of President Obama’s signature health care law — to the state Supreme Court.  LePage refuses to grant lawmakers’ and voters’ wishes to make 70,000 more people (adults with incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level) eligible for Medicaid, the nation’s government-run health insurance program. After he vetoed five expansion bills in five years, Medicaid advocates took the issue to voters, who sided with their state legislators. Still, LePage resists. The reason, he says, is money…”
  • A vote expanded Medicaid in Maine. The governor is ignoring it., By Abby Goodnough, July 24, 2018, New York Times: “Brandy Staples, a 39-year-old breast cancer survivor, had expected to become eligible for Medicaid coverage this month after Maine voters approved an expansion of the program last fall. Instead, she found herself in a courtroom here on Wednesday, watching the latest chapter unfold in a rancorous, drawn-out battle over whether she and thousands of other poor people in the state will get free government insurance after all. Ignoring the binding vote, Gov. Paul LePage has refused to expand the program, blasting it as a needless, budget-busting form of welfare. He vetoed five expansion bills before the issue made the ballot, plus a spending bill this month that provided about $60 million in funding for the first year…”

State Medicaid Programs – Oklahoma, Maine, Ohio

  • Oklahoma Medicaid approved for drug pricing experiment, By Ken Miller and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar (AP), July 13, 2018, ABC News: “The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved Oklahoma’s Medicaid program for a first-in-the-nation drug pricing experiment that supporters say could save taxpayer dollars and provide patients with the most effective medications for their ailments. Under the ‘value-based purchasing’ program approved in late June, the state and a pharmaceutical company would agree to a set payment if its medication works as advertised, but only a fraction of that if the drug is not as effective as promised…”
  • Lawmakers await details on LePage’s plan for hospital tax to fund Medicaid expansion, By Kevin Miller, July 18, 2018, Portland Press Herald: “Maine’s highest court will hear arguments Wednesday over the LePage administration’s refusal to begin offering Medicaid coverage to tens of thousands of additional adults. Meanwhile, lawmakers and a representative for Maine’s hospitals say they have yet to see a formal plan from Gov. Paul LePage’s office detailing his 3-week-old proposal he made last month to pay for Medicaid expansion by increasing taxes on hospitals…”
  • Ohio Medicaid’s mental, addiction benefits achieve equality with physical care: state report, By Laura Hancock, July 18, 2018, Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Once Ohio Medicaid patients with mental health or addiction problems enter the health care system, they must be treated on par as those with physical ailments. That means no extra co-pays, prior authorizations or limits on hospitalization or counseling that wouldn’t be imposed on physical health care in Medicaid. The barriers that many patients in the mental health system know too well are supposed to have been recently eliminated. According to a recent report, the Ohio Department of Medicaid is now complying with a federal law that requires equality – technically called ‘parity’ in the health care world – between benefits for mental and physical health care…”

Medicaid Work Requirements – Ohio, Alaska

  • Ohio closer to work requirements for Medicaid: What’s really going on, By Kaitlin Schroeder, May 2, 2018, Dayton Daily News: “Ohio is a step closer to forcing some Medicaid recipients to get jobs if they receive the government assistance. The Ohio Department of Medicaid on Monday said it had officially submitted its request to create the work requirements for those covered through the expansion of Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program that covers residents with low incomes or disabilities…”
  • State analysts say requiring Medicaid recipients to work won’t save money, By Andrew Kitchenman, May 2, 2018, Alaska Public Media: “An analysis by state officials finds that requiring people who receive Medicaid to work won’t save the state money. That’s because the state would have to pay people to help residents to find work, and to check that they’re complying with a requirement…”

Medicaid Expansion – Louisiana, Montana

  • Medicaid expansion created 19,000 new jobs in Louisiana, according to study, By Maria Clark, April 10, 2018, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Louisiana’s decision to expand Medicaid in 2016 led to a $1.85 billion direct economic impact, according to an economic impact report released Tuesday (April 11). The report called Medicaid Expansion and the Louisiana Economy was commissioned by the Louisiana Department of Health and prepared by Dr. Jim Richardson and the Public Administration Institute at Louisiana State University…”
  • Report: Medicaid expansion pays for itself; future economic impact seen as bright, By Holly K. Michels, April 10, 2018, Billings Gazette: “In the first two years after Montana expanded Medicaid, the savings to the state have eclipsed the costs. Though that could flip by 2020, increased activity in Montana’s economy because of the expansion will more than make up the difference. That’s according to a report commissioned by the Montana Healthcare Foundation and Headwaters Foundation…”

States and Medicaid Expansion

Republicans lead Medicaid expansion push in 2 holdout states, By Mattie Quinn, March 30, 2018, Governing: “After five years of failed attempts to expand Medicaid, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill last week to do just that. It may come as a surprise that the bill was sponsored by a Republican. Republicans have historically opposed making more low-income people eligible for the government health insurance program. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Obama’s signature legislation, the federal government pays 90 to 100 percent of the costs for any state that expands. But Republican-led states have been slow to expand Medicaid, and nearly 20 of them still have not…”

Medicaid Work Requirements

  • Northern Ky. expected to be first area affected by new Medicaid work/training requirement, By Lisa Gillespie, April 6, 2018, Cincinnati Public Radio: “A top Kentucky official says northern Kentucky will likely be the first area where Medicaid enrollees will have to meet the state’s new ‘community engagement’ requirement, starting July 1. Kristi Putnam, program manager for the Medicaid changes in Kentucky, said the state sent out post-cards this week…”
  • Ohio’s plan to add work requirements for Medicaid gets push back, By Kaitlin Schroeder, April 5, 2018, Dayton Daily News: “Dozens of medical and social service lobbying groups are pushing back against Ohio Medicaid’s request to create work requirements for able-bodied adults covered through Medicaid expansion. The Trump administration opened the door for states to add the first-ever work requirements associated with the state-federal health insurance program for the poor. In response, the Republican-dominated legislature inserted language in last summer’s budget bill ordering the Kasich administration to apply…”
  • Several groups sign letter opposing HIP work requirement, By Jill Sheridan, March 28, 2018, Indiana Public Media: “A group of non-profits organizations sent a letter to Governor Eric Holcomb this week, urging him to reconsider a new Healthy Indiana Plan, HIP, rule.  More than 400,000 Hoosiers are currently enrolled in HIP which is Indiana’s Medicaid expansion program.  Last month the state became the second state to receive federal permission to add a work requirement…”

State Medicaid Programs

  • Medicaid is a lifeline for nearly half of this county’s residents, By Phil Galewitz, March 27, 2018, CNN Money: “On a crisp sunny day, Tyson Toledo, a precocious 5-year-old boy, hobbled into a private health clinic to have his infected foot examined. Pediatrician Gayle Harrison told his mother to continue to apply antibiotic ointment and reminded them to come back if the swelling and redness worsened. The appointment at Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services’ outpatient center in Gallup, New Mexico, comes at no charge for the Toledo family, who live 30 miles away on the Navajo Nation Reservation. That’s because Tyson is covered by Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor…”
  • California Medicaid expansion enrolled hundreds of thousands of ineligible people, federal report finds, By Chad Terhune, March 26, 2018, Los Angeles Times: “California signed up an estimated 450,000 people under Medicaid expansion who may not have been eligible for coverage, according to a report by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s chief watchdog…”
  • Utah governor signs Medicaid expansion bill. Now, Utah waits to see if the feds will approve it., By Luke Ramseth, March 28, 2018, Salt Lake Tribune: “Gov. Gary Herbert signed a measure Tuesday to give more than 70,000 needy Utahns access to government health coverage, ending years of failed attempts on Capitol Hill to expand Medicaid in the state. But whether House Bill 472 ever takes effect still remains uncertain. Under President Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Utah law needs approval by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which has sent mixed signals on whether it will fully sign off…”

State Medicaid Programs

  • Virginia Republicans divided on Medicaid expansion, By Megan Pauly, March 14, 2018, National Public Radio: “Virginia is among 18 states that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. But this year, the state legislature is going into a special session to continue discussions about whether or not to include it in its budget. By the time the regular session adjourned Saturday, members of Virginia’s GOP-controlled House of Delegates and Senate could not reach agreement on whether or not to expand Medicaid…”
  • Proposed Medicaid work requirements could end up costing Minnesota, By Glenn Howatt, March 18, 2018, Star Tribune: “Republican legislators who are proposing work requirements for Minnesota’s Medicaid recipients say it would promote personal responsibility and save taxpayer dollars, but doctors and county officials who work in the system predict that people would lose needed health care in exchange for savings that are likely to disappoint…”
  • Mississippi Medicaid saves $4.6M in one year by identifying unnecessary, expensive scripts, By Anna Wolfe, March 22, 2018, Clarion Ledger: “By identifying unnecessary, expensive prescriptions covered by the state’s Medicaid program, Mississippi officials say they’ve saved nearly $5 million…”
  • Expanding Medicaid to cut Medicaid: Texas turns to Trump administration to fund family planning, By Phil Galewitz and Anna Gorman, March 22, 2018, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “President Donald Trump’s administration is weighing whether to allow Texas to receive millions of federal Medicaid dollars for its family planning program, which bars abortion providers.  The Lone Star State eliminated its Medicaid-funded family planning program five years ago when state officials said they wanted to specifically exclude Planned Parenthood because the group provides abortions. Dozens of women’s health clinics closed as Texas established a wholly state-funded program that officials say today serves 220,000 women…”

States and Medicaid Expansion

Medicaid expansion’s troubled future, By Vann R. Newkirk II, March 13, 2018, The Atlantic: “In 2012, the Supreme Court’s decision in the NFIB v. Sebelius case sent shockwaves through the health-policy community, with Chief Justice John Roberts’s majority opinion causing much teeth-gnashing all around. Among many conservatives, the preservation of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate constituted ‘one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in American history.’ For supporters of the law, the decision to turn the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid into a state-optional program threatened to destabilize the entire project of expanding coverage to the poorest Americans…”

Medicaid Work Requirements – Arkansas

Thousands of Arkansas Medicaid recipients must start working in June, By Tami Luhby, March 5, 2018, CNN Money: “Tens of thousands of low-income Arkansas residents will have to start working in June if they want to keep their Medicaid benefits. The state received approval from the Trump administration Monday to impose work requirements on certain non-elderly, non-disabled beneficiaries who don’t have dependent children at home. It joins Kentucky and Indiana in being granted such a waiver, but Arkansas plans to put the requirement into effect earlier than the other states…”

State Medicaid Programs

  • All those Medicaid experiments? States often fail to evaluate the results, By Phil Galewitz, February 26, 2018, Governing: “With federal spending on Medicaid experiments soaring in recent years, a congressional watchdog said state and federal governments fail to adequately evaluate if the efforts improve care and save money…”
  • Tens of thousands of Medicaid recipients don’t pay their premiums, By Phil Galewitz, February 28, 2018, CNN Money: “When Arkansas lawmakers debated whether to renew the state’s Medicaid expansion in 2016, many Republican lawmakers were swayed only if some of the 300,000 adults who gained coverage would have to start paying premiums. This ‘skin-in-the-game’ provision — endorsed by conservatives in Washington and in many statehouses — is designed to make Medicaid recipients value their government health insurance more and lead healthier lives…”