Health and Poverty News

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 28, 2014: PG special report: Access to specialty health care out of reach for many in region

“The specialist gap exists because few clinics for low-income patients have specialists on staff. The clinics often have no direct connection with the specialists, who are typically affiliated with hospitals or large practices. Even when they do have connections, they can't always arrange timely, affordable specialty care.”

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, July 28, 2014: States talk Medicaid growth (Subscription Required)

“Legislators from across the South squeezed into a small ballroom at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Little Rock on Sunday to hear how three states, including Arkansas, approached their Medicaid expansion plans.”

The Charleston Post Courier, July 28, 2014: South Carolina Medicaid backlog leaves thousands in insurance limbo

“Thousands of South Carolina residents who filed for Medicaid between October and mid-July are still waiting to find out if they qualify for the government's low-income health insurance program.”

The Messenger, July 26, 2014: Medicaid expansion showing promise (Subscription Required)

“The expansion of Medicaid eligibility to more poor Kentuckians has shown positive trends in its first six months of implementation, Medicaid Commissioner Lawrence Kissner told a legislative committee Thursday.”

The News & Observer, July 25, 2014: Many low-income NC workers are locked out of Medicaid

“They’re construction workers, waitresses and cashiers. They care for our children and elderly parents, clean our offices and bathrooms. But they go without health insurance because their incomes aren’t high enough to qualify for federal subsidies and too high to qualify for North Carolina’s current Medicaid program for low-income and disabled citizens.”

The Charlotte Observer, July 24, 2014: Many low-income N.C. workers are locked out of Medicaid

“They’re construction workers, waitresses and cashiers. They care for our children and elderly parents, clean our offices and bathrooms. But they go without health insurance because their incomes aren’t high enough to qualify for federal subsidies and too high to qualify for North Carolina’s current Medicaid program for low-income and disabled citizens. More than half of the 689,000 uninsured adults North Carolinians who fall into this so-called ‘Medicaid gap’ are employed in jobs that are critical to the state’s economy, according to a report released Thursday by the North Carolina Justice Center, the North Carolina Community Health Center Association and Families USA.”

The Tennessean, July 23, 2014: Patients in Tenncare limbo sue for benefits

“Lawyers for the plaintiffs said Tennessee was the worst state in the nation for fulfilling its Medicaid obligations. They are asking a judge to give the suit class-action status, which would broaden the impact of any legal decisions to other people similarly affected, and to prevent the state from refusing to process Medicaid applications within the legally required 45-day period.”

The Deseret News, July 23, 2014: Conflicting court rulings may slow Medicaid expansion decision in Utah

“Legislative action on Gov. Gary Herbert's proposed alternative to Medicaid expansion could be pushed back until next year as a result of conflicting appeals court rulings on the Affordable Care Act issued Tuesday.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 19, 2014: State's low Medicaid payments pinch doctor practices in low-income areas

“Mohammad Qasim Khan, a primary care physician who oversees a private practice in a low-income neighborhood, well knows the discrepancy between what private insurance pays for his services and what the state's Medicaid program pays.”

The Ada News, July 19, 2014: Dorman says he’d accept federal funds to expand Medicaid

“Oklahoma should accept federal dollars to expand its Medicaid program, which will allow the program to serve more poor Oklahomans, gubernatorial candidate Joe Dorman said Friday.”

The Washington Post, July 18, 2014: (Op-Ed) At a huge free medical clinic in southwest Virginia, misery that shouldn’t exist

“At midnight before the clinic opened, there were 1,204 people in line. And over the weekend, thousands more will come. This is what health care looks like for many of the folks in this corner of southwest Virginia. And it will keep looking like this, thanks to state lawmakers who could have helped their most desperate constituents but instead blocked, bickered and weaseled until Virginia forfeited billions in Medicaid expansion funds. The result: More than 400,000 people who would have qualified for Medicaid coverage will continue to go uninsured.”

The Deseret News, July 18, 2014: Medicaid coverage gap 'significantly larger'

“The number of Utahns in the Medicaid coverage gap is ‘significantly larger’ than previously calculated, according to a new analysis presented Thursday to the state's Health Reform Task Force.”

The News & Observer, July 18, 2014: NC Senate Medicaid overhaul moves forward

“A proposal to overhaul Medicaid is on its way to a vote of the full Senate, carried out of committee Thursday on a wave of praise by the managed care industry and questions about its impact on existing programs.”

The Buffalo News, July 17, 2014: BlueCross BlueShield withdraws from Medicaid managed care program

“Some 53,000 Medicaid recipients in the region, including nearly 29,000 in Erie County, will have to look for new insurance coverage this fall because BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York is withdrawing from the Medicaid managed care program.”

The Portland Tribune, July 17, 2014: Oregon won't smile on dental therapists

“The Pew study noted that millions of U.S. citizens simply don't have access to dental care. Most dentists will not see Medicaid patients because reimbursement is low. In addition, many people in rural areas and in low-income urban neighborhoods do not have dentists nearby.”

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, July 17, 2014: (Editorial) Saving private option (Subscription Required)

“I'd said that Hutchinson opposes raising the state's minimum wage. A campaign aide said Hutchinson opposes only the proposed initiated act favored by Mike Ross to take the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour in three years.”

The Washington Post, July 16, 2014: New challenge for Obamacare: Enrollees who don’t understand their insurance plans

“Nonprofit organizations across the country are being swamped by consumers with questions. Many are low-income, have never had insurance and have little knowledge of the health-care system. The rampant confusion poses a potential hurdle for the success of the health law: If many Americans don’t understand how health insurance works, that could hurt their ability to use their benefits — or to keep their coverage altogether.”

The Tampa Bay Times, July 16, 2014: Pinellas downsizes plan for medical clinic for the poor

“Over the past few months, however, the Pinellas County Commission started to have doubts about building a $5 million medical clinic for the poor near the Pinellas County Jail and Safe Harbor homeless shelter in Largo. On Wednesday, commissioners decided to change course.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 16, 2014: One-third who lost BadgerCare coverage bought plans on federal marketplace

“About one out of three people who lost their BadgerCare Plus health insurance under the state's unusual approach to the Affordable Care Act bought subsidized health plans on the marketplace set up by the federal law, according to figures released Wednesday by the state Department of Health Services.”

The Sacramento Bee, July 16, 2014: Nurse visits at home can pay big dividends

“It is well known that in the United States, women and children in low-income families have significantly higher death rates than women and children of affluent families. However, new research shows that we have a well-established and evidenced-based program that can reduce those higher death rates.”

The Chattanooga Times Free Press, July 16, 2014: Tennessee health advocates criticize TennCare response

“Health advocates in Tennessee and in the Southeast say they are ‘disappointed’ and ‘troubled’ by TennCare's response to federal officials about problems with the state's Medicaid application system.”

The Austin American-Statesman, July 16, 2014: Number of Texans enrolled in Medicaid up by 80,000

“The number of Texans enrolled in Medicaid has grown by 80,000 despite the Texas Legislature's decision last year to reject the program's expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act.”

The Danbury News Times, July 16, 2014: Wisconsin releases new Medicaid enrollment numbers

“More than 60 percent of the people who lost state Medicaid coverage earlier this year did not purchase private insurance through the online marketplace, according to official data released Wednesday. Gov. Scott Walker has defended his administration's attempts to reach out to the nearly 63,000 people who lost coverage under the more limited income requirements he put in place.”

The Milwaukee Business Journal, July 16, 2014: Walker administration reports 30 percent of those who lost Medicaid now on ACA exchange

“Thirty percent of the low-income Wisconsinites who lost Medicaid coverage either through Gov. Scott Walker’s Medicaid program or Obamacare are now receiving health insurance via the Affordable Care Act online health insurance marketplace, according to a new report from the Walker administration.”

The Portland Press Herald, July 15, 2014: Doctor shortages acute in poor communities

“Hospitals and family doctors, the mainstays of health care, are pulling out of poor city neighborhoods, where the sickest populations live.”