Medicaid Programs

  • Montana faces double quandary over Medicaid expansion, By Bobby Caina Calvan (AP), July 17, 2017, Washington Post: “For all the uncertainty over the fate of a health care overhaul in Washington, tens of thousands of Montana’s working poor are already in a double quandary: Even if Congress leaves Medicaid expansion mostly intact, the future of the state’s program remains uncertain…”
  • Holcomb asks feds to allow Medicaid work requirements, Associated Press, July 21, 2017, Indianapolis Star: “Gov. Eric Holcomb has submitted a finalized proposal allowing for changes to the state’s Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 serving low-income Hoosiers…”
  • Study suggests why more skin in the game won’t fix Medicaid, By Don Sapatkin, July 19, 2017, Philadelphia Inquirer: “As patients and partisans of all stripes take a deep breath after the latest Republican effort to dismantle Obamacare, they might consider how trying to save health-care dollars can have unintended consequences. In the Netherlands,  the government sought to give people more ‘skin in the game’ in its national health system. The idea —  long supported by U.S. conservatives, even for poor people on Medicaid — is that when patients have to shell out some cash for their care, they won’t seek unnecessary services…”

State Medicaid Programs – Florida, Ohio, Indiana

  • Florida deal would reverse key part of Obama’s Medicaid expansion, By Robert Pear, April 30, 2017, New York Times: “The Trump administration appears to have scrapped one of the key tools the Obama administration used to encourage states to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The shift involves funding that the federal government provides to help hospitals defray the cost of caring for low-income people who are uninsured. Under a deal with Florida, the federal government has tentatively agreed to provide additional money for the state’s ‘low-income pool,’ in a reversal of the previous administration’s policy…”
  • Ohio GOP renews fight over Medicaid, By Jessie Balmert, May 1, 2017, Cincinnati Enquirer: “Republican lawmakers have backed off from an attempt by some to kill Gov. John Kasich’s expansion of Medicaid to lower-income Ohioans, but they are battling to rein it in. A new Ohio House proposal would force the Medicaid director to get approval for Medicaid expansion money every six months. To get the money, the director would go before the Controlling Board, a panel of six lawmakers and a Kasich appointee – the same group Kasich leveraged in 2013 when his party would not move the Medicaid expansion portion of Obamacare through the Legislature…”
  • How Medicaid can help you find a job, or get a ride, or land a free cellphone, By Shari Rudavsky, May 4, 2017, Indianapolis Star: “When Leona Cullen moved to Noblesville from Hawaii in December, she knew she would need health insurance in her new home. She also knew she would need a job. What she didn’t know was that an Indiana Medicaid provider could help her achieve both those goals. One month away from giving birth, Cullen, 42, visited a hospital emergency room in January, where staff helped her sign up for CareSource’s Healthy Indiana Plan. Not only did the plan cover the medical expenses associated with the birth of her daughter at the end of January, it also connected Cullen with Jessica Rockhill, a life coach who helped her organize her life…”

State Medicaid Program – Indiana

Indiana’s Medicaid alternative life-saving and frustrating, By Maureen Groppe, April 3, 2017, Indianapolis Star: “Indiana’s alternative Medicaid program enabled one Hoosier to get life-saving back surgery. Others who have told the federal government about their experiences with the Healthy Indiana Program also credit HIP 2.0 with saving their lives through care they would not have previously been able to afford. ‘If it wasn’t for HIP 2.0, I would be dead,’ one patient wrote in comments the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services collected as part of the agency’s consideration of Indiana’s request to continue the program, which has been touted as a model for other states. Criticism, however, was more prevalent than praise in the nearly 100 comments submitted…”

Kids Count Report – Indiana

Why it’s tough to be a youth in Indiana, By Shari Rudavsky, February 27, 2017, Indianapolis Star: “It’s not easy being a child. And it can be even harder to be a child in Indiana, according to data released Monday.  Indiana has the 15th largest population of youth younger than 18, with more than 1.5 million children living here. But many youth in Indiana experience poverty and maltreatment, says the 2017 Kids Count in Indiana Data Book from the Indiana Youth Institute with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  The annual report paints a picture of the experience of children who live in Indiana, by sharing statistics on families and communities, education, the economy, health and safety…”

Lead Poisoning in Children – Indiana

Indiana bill aims to increase lead testing for children in low-income families, By Ted Booker, February 9, 2017, South Bend Tribune: “Only a small fraction of Indiana’s children in low-income families are tested for lead poisoning, but a proposed state bill aims to change that.  Senate Bill 491 — co-authored by Sen. Jean Breaux, D-Indianapolis, and Sen. David Niezgodski, D-South Bend — calls for doubling the number of Medicaid-eligible children tested statewide for the toxic metal, which can cause permanent damage to kids’ developing brains and organs…”

Medicaid Expansion – Indiana

Indiana’s Medicaid experiment may reveal Obamacare’s future, By Alana Semuels, December 21, 2016, The Atlantic: “Nearly 20 governors turned away the federal funding to expand Medicaid offered under the Affordable Care Act. Their states’ opposition to Obamacare meant that tens of thousands of low-income people in their states continued to live without health insurance.  But Mike Pence, governor of Indiana, was not one of them. After two years of negotiation, Pence in January 2015 reached an agreement with the Obama administration granting Indiana a waiver to try its own form of Medicaid expansion, called Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) 2.0. The state would become one of the 31 that participated in the Medicaid expansion, receiving federal money through the Affordable Care Act to cover people between 100 percent and 138 percent of the federal poverty line. (Medicaid already covered a limited number of people living below the poverty line.) But it could also add its own modifications, the most salient being that participants would be required to contribute monthly fees to continue to receive access to health care…”

Public Defender System – Indiana

Indiana’s public defender system flawed, study says, By Fatima Hussein, October 24, 2016, Indianapolis Star: “The state’s public defender system is not only woefully underfunded, legal experts say, the Sixth Amendment right to a fair and speedy trial is routinely violated in Indiana.  Lack of oversight of the public defense system, inconsistent funding and subpar representation contribute to the problems, the experts said…”

Aging Out of Foster Care – Indiana

From foster care to first-time homeowners, By Maureen C. Gilmer, July 20, 2016, Indianapolis Star: “As a child, Ronnisha Davis bounced from home to home. She lived with her mom, then in a foster home, then her dad, then another foster home, then an apartment when she was 17.  Today, the 23-year-old is settling into her own house, purchased with ‘sweat equity’ on her part, as well as help from Habitat for Humanity andIndiana Connected By 25. The latter is a nonprofit that partners with United Way, the Department of Child Services and other organizations to support young adults before and after they age out of foster care (age 20 in Indiana). Among its programs are Opportunity Passport, which offers financial literacy classes, a matching savings plan and micro loans to build credit…”

Medicaid Expansion – Indiana

Indiana battling feds over Medicaid, By Maureen Groppe, June 20, 2016, Indianapolis Star: “Indiana remains at odds with the federal government over how to evaluate the state’s unique Medicaid program, a standoff that affects not only Indiana, but also other states looking to adopt Indiana’s model. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services gave Indiana a deadline of June 17 to finalize a data-sharing agreement on the jointly funded health care program for the poor. Instead, Indiana responded in a letter Friday that the federal government hasn’t satisfied the state’s concerns about data safety…”

Pre-Kindergarten – Indianapolis, IN

Indy pre-K shatters goals, setting up funding fight in 2017, By Brian Eason, March 1, 2016, Indianapolis Star: “A pilot program offering prekindergarten scholarships to low-income families in Indianapolis is shattering expectations, but not entirely in a good way. The good news, relayed last week at a City-County Council committee hearing, is that just one year into the five-year program, the public-private partnership already has secured $33.2 million of its $50 million goal. The bad? That initial goal will only pay for less than a third of the demand…”

Medicaid Expansion – Indiana, Ohio

  • Hospitals boosted by Medicaid expansion, By Maureen Groppe, February 1, 2016, Indianapolis Star: “The biggest obstacle a Richmond, Ind., hospital has had in signing up low-income Hoosiers for Indiana’s expanded Medicaid program is convincing them it’s real.  ‘These are people who have never had this type of coverage before,’ said Chris Knight, the chief financial officer and vice president of Reid Health. ‘We have had very touching stories where people just break down and cry when they’re given this coverage.’  As Indiana enters its second year of expanded Medicaid coverage created by the Affordable Care Act, hospitals around the state report it has helped patients gain needed coverage.  But it’s helping hospitals, too.  The amount of unpaid bills Reid Health can’t collect from patients has dropped about 40 percent…”
  • Do Indiana’s poor Medicaid recipients really have skin in the game?, By Maureen Groppe and Shari Rudavsky, February 1, 2016, Indianapolis Star: “When Gov. Mike Pence sought federal permission to run an alternative Medicaid program in Indiana, one aspect was non-negotiable: Participants in the joint federal and state health care program for the poor would have to have ‘skin in the game.’  Even those with no monthly income would have to pay a minimum $1 a month toward their care, if they wanted to stay in the part of the Healthy Indiana Program (HIP 2.0) that offered better benefits and no co-payments…”
  • Medicaid cuts number of uninsured Ohio workers, By Randy Tucker, February 3, 2016, Dayton Daily News: “The number of Ohio workers who were employed but uninsured fell sharply in the first full year of expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, according to a report released Wednesday by Families USA. On average, the rate of uninsured, mostly low-wage workers, fell by 25 percent in the 26 states that expanded Medicaid in 2014, the non-profit health care advocacy group found. That was about twice the rate of decline in non-expansion states, where the share of uninsured workers was cut by an average of 13 percent, according to the report…”

Medicaid and Children’s Dental Care – Indiana

Many children with Medicaid not getting required dental care, By Carla K. Johnson (AP), January 25, 2016, Northwest Indiana Times: “Three out of four children covered by Medicaid in four states, including Indiana, didn’t receive all required dental care over a recent two-year period, according to a federal report that recommends a government push to improve access to care.  One in four such kids didn’t see a dentist at all, the Health and Human Services inspector general’s office said Monday. Among the reasons were that there were too few dentists accepting Medicaid patients and a lack of education about the importance of proper dental care…”

Workforce Development – Indiana

Indiana’s low unemployment creates worker shortage, By Kris Turner, January 8, 2016, Indianapolis Star: “One. That’s how many qualified employees Gregg Fore can find among every 10 job applicants at his RV manufacturing business.  And he’s far from alone. Economic experts say Indiana businesses face some particularly tough hiring challenges because of the state’s heavy reliance on manufacturing, a sector that has been hit hardest by a national worker shortage…”

Human Needs Index – Indiana

New poverty index shows continuing need in Indiana, By Maureen Groppe, October 7, 2015, Indianapolis Star: “Indiana is taking longer to recover from the Great Recession than the nation as a whole, according to a new poverty measure released Wednesday by Indiana University and the Salvation Army. The Human Needs Index tracks services provided by the Salvation Army for food, shelter, clothing, health and well-being. Researchers at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis said the index provides a more timely and detailed measure of need than government poverty statistics…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Indiana

Many NWI residents at risk of losing food stamps, By Giles Bruce, September 2, 2015, Northwest Indiana Times: “As she input inventory numbers into a computer at her local food bank Tuesday, Gary resident Jessica Lipscomb said she was glad to be out of the house. She’d been out of work for several months. She says she had to quit her last job, in medical billing, because she didn’t have reliable transportation. Then she got a letter from the state earlier this year, saying she would have to find or train for a job if she wanted to keep receiving food stamps. While she hasn’t found employment yet, she participates in job training at the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, doing data entry there two mornings a week. She gets there by bus…”

State Medicaid Program – Indiana

Indiana’s poor get Medicaid — by paying, By Noam N. Levey, June 15, 2015, Chicago Tribune: “Linda Joyner, at 64, just got health coverage. Uninsured for years, the former waitress signed up for Medicaid after Indiana expanded its program through the Affordable Care Act. But unlike millions of low-income Americans who’ve enrolled in the government plan since last year, Joyner is paying for her coverage. Indiana, which has a conservative Republican governor and legislature, is pioneering an experiment that requires low-income patients to contribute monthly to a special health account. Joyner chips in $12.33…”

Kids Count Reports – Michigan, Indiana, Iowa

  • Saginaw County above state averages for child poverty, low birth weight, child abuse investigations, Kids Count 2015 reports, By Heather Jordan, February 19, 2015, MLive: “When it comes to the overall well-being of Michigan children, Saginaw County ranked 59th of 82, with No. 1 being the best.  Saginaw County has a greater percentage of young children who are eligible for food assistance than the state average, a greater percentage of low birth weight babies than the state average, a higher rate of children living in families investigated for abuse or neglect than the state average and a greater percentage of students who did not graduate high school on time than the state average.  All of this is according to the 2015 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book released Thursday, Feb. 19, by the Michigan League for Public Policy…”
  • Data: Indiana has highest rate in U.S. of teens who considered suicide, By Marisa Kwiatkowski, February 17, 2015, Indianapolis Star: “Indiana has the highest rate in the country of teens who have considered suicide and the second-highest rate of those who attempted it, according to a report from the Indiana Youth Institute.  The Institute’s ‘2015 Kids Count in Indiana data book,’ which was released Monday, pulled data from hundreds of national and state sources to analyze the state of Hoosier children and families. It tackled concerns such as a high rate of teen drug use, a low student-to-school counselor ratio and the fact that 22 percent of Indiana children live in poverty…”
  • Mixed results for Iowa’s children in Iowa Kids Count Report, By Chelsea Keenan and Andrew Phillips, February 11, 2015, The Gazette: “The health and education of Iowa’s children has generally improved since 2000, according to the 2013 Iowa Kids Count report. But the economic well-being that their families face has not.  The report, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, has data looking at 20 different indicators of child and family well-being, including child poverty, food assistance, high school graduation rates and teen births.  It also provides data on a county, state and national level as well as compares rural with urban areas…”

Medicaid Expansion – Indiana

  • Gov. Pence gets federal OK for Medicaid alternative, By Shari Rudavsky and Maureen Groppe, January 27, 2015, Indianapolis Star: “After months of wrangling between Gov. Mike Pence and the Obama administration, Indiana won approval to expand its own brand of Medicaid that injects personal responsibility into the healthcare program for the poor. About 350,000 low-income Hoosiers who lack insurance could benefit from the program, whose approved expansion was announced Tuesday, the day enrollment began. Coverage could start as early as Feb. 1. Pence said the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0, a revamped version of a program started by then-Gov. Mitch Daniels, goes beyond standard Medicaid expansion by requiring that participants contribute to the cost of their care…”
  • Indiana will allow entry to Medicaid for a price, By Abby Goodnough, January 27, 2015, New York Times: “After a lengthy back-and-forth, the Obama administration has agreed to let Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, a Republican, expand Medicaid on his own terms, including some that have not been allowed before under federal rules. The plan will extend coverage to an additional 350,000 Indiana residents with incomes of up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level — about $16,100 for a single person and $27,310 for a family of three — starting next month. As in the 27 other states that have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government will cover the entire cost through this year and at least 90 percent in future years. But Mr. Pence, like several Republican governors before him, insisted on adding a conservative twist to the expansion, mostly by requiring beneficiaries to pay something toward their coverage…”

SNAP Work Requirements – Indiana

Indiana reinstates time limits for some food stamp recipients, By Maureen Groppe, October 20, 2014, Indianapolis Star: “Indiana will begin cutting off food stamp benefits next year to tens of thousands of people who fail to get a job or train for work. Beginning in the spring, the state will limit benefits to no more than three months during a three-year period for able-bodied adults without children who don’t work or participate in job training for at least 20 hours a week. The time limit is a requirement for the federally funded program, but states can ask for a waiver if jobs are scarce in all or part of the state. Although Indiana is among the majority of states that qualify for a waiver, the state plans to reinstate the requirement…”

Affordable Care Act and Medicaid

  • In rural Kentucky, health-care debate takes back seat as the long-uninsured line up, By Stephanie McCrummen, November 23, 2013, Washington Post: “On the campaign trail, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was still blasting the new health-care law as unsalvageable. At the White House, President Obama was still apologizing for the botched federal Web site. But in a state where the rollout has gone smoothly, and in a county that is one of the poorest and unhealthiest in the country, Courtney Lively has been busy signing people up: cashiers from the IGA grocery, clerks from the dollar store, workers from the lock factory, call-center agents, laid-off coal miners, KFC cooks, Chinese green-card holders in town to teach Appalachian students…”
  • Medicaid expansion’s tale of two states: Kentucky ‘haves’ vs. Indiana ‘have-nots’, By Laura Unger, December 1, 2013, Louisville Courier-Journal: “Lorinda Fox of New Albany, Ind., hasn’t been to a doctor since her last child was born 21 years ago. Poor and uninsured, she treats her illnesses with over-the-counter remedies. At age 58, she knows she’s taking chances with her health, especially since she recently began having heart palpitations and chest pain. ‘I’ll do the same thing I always do — gut it out,’ said Fox, who lives with her hearing-impaired daughter and earns about $12,000 a year working in retail. ‘I don’t know what else I can do.’ If Fox lived in Kentucky, she would qualify for expanded Medicaid next year under the Affordable Care Act. But she lives in a state where she makes too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid, and politicians have chosen not to expand Medicaid as Obamacare intended, contending that Indiana taxpayers can’t afford it…”
  • Michigan embraces Medicaid expansion to help inmates, By Guy Gugliotta, November 30, 2013, Washington Post: “When Medicaid expands next year under the federal health-care law to include all adults living close to the poverty line, one group of eligible beneficiaries will be several million men and women who have spent time in state and federal prisons and jails. The Justice Department estimates that former inmates and detainees will constitute about 35 percent of the people who will qualify for Medicaid coverage in the states expanding their programs to anyone earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $15,000 for an individual in 2013. The Congressional Budget Office estimated earlier this year that 9 million people will get the new coverage next year…”