Tagged Medicaid

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: The Labor Pains Of ‘Medicare For All’


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Labor unions are divided over whether to endorse a Democratic candidate for president in 2020 — and, if so, whom to choose. Some unions are firmly behind the “Medicare for All” plans being pushed by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. But the influential Culinary Workers Union in Nevada declined to endorse any candidate, with members worried about what might replace the generous benefits they won by bargaining away wage increases.

Meanwhile, a federal appeals court panel unanimously ruled that the Trump administration violated Medicaid law when it approved work requirements for beneficiaries in Arkansas. The ruling puts similar requirements in doubt in several other states.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Jennifer Haberkorn of the Los Angeles Times and Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call.

Among the takeaways from this week’s podcast:

  • Health care remains a top issue for voters, but candidates, eager to set themselves apart from the pack, are failing to point out the major policy differences they have with President Donald Trump. For example, at the Las Vegas debate Wednesday, no one mentioned the abortion case coming to the Supreme Court in March or the appeals court case that could invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act.
  • The Trump administration has approved Medicaid work requirements in more than a half-dozen states, with at least eight more pending. All of those state plan approvals are put in doubt by the appeals court opinion that such requirements violate the Medicaid statute.
  • Enrollment in Covered California, the state’s ACA exchange, grew by almost half a million from 2019 to 2020, the state just announced. California did many things other states did not, including extending premium subsidies higher up the income scale, reinstating the penalty for not having coverage that was zeroed out by Congress, and spending millions of dollars on outreach.
  • COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that originated in China, is complicating public health efforts way beyond that nation. U.S. firms are worried about shortages of drugs and drug ingredients that are made in China, and misinformation is spreading even more rapidly than the illness.

Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read too:

Julie Rovner: CNN.com’s “Nation’s Largest Teachers Unions Call to End Active Shooter Drills Over Fears They’re Traumatizing Students,” by Leah Asmelash

Alice Miranda Ollstein: The Washington Post’s “Trust and Consequences,” by Hannah Dreier

Rebecca Adams: The New York Times’ “The Health System We’d Have if Economists Ran Things,” by Austin Frakt

Jennifer Haberkorn: Kaiser Health News’ “Ink Rx? Welcome To The Camouflaged World Of Paramedical Tattoos,” by Cara Anthony


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Appeals Court Shoots Down Arkansas’ Medicaid Work Requirements In Latest Legal Blow For Trump Administration

Must-Reads Of The Week From Brianna Labuskes

Happy Friday! And Happy Valentine’s Day, where we at KHN have compiled some of the best #HealthPolicyValentines from Twitter (this seems the right group for that level of wonkiness!). Check out some great ones, like this from Laura Marston:

“One vial a week
Keeps me alive
Used to cost $20
Now it’s $275.”

Now on to equally fun things, like budgets!

President Donald Trump released his proposed budget this week with only the vaguest of a health care plan mentioned. A mystery pot of $844 billion signaled deep cuts to Medicaid and subsidies under the health law. In particular, an obscure passage referred to “ending the financial bias that currently favors able-bodied working-age adults over the truly vulnerable.” Critics were scratching their heads how the released budget aligned with Trump’s promise to protect people’s coverage. “You can’t cut $1 trillion from these programs and protect the most vulnerable,” said Aviva Aron-Dine of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The Associated Press: Mystery $844B Pot in Trump Budget Signals Medicaid Cuts

The budget also calls for an almost 16% cut to the CDC (yes, the agency handling the coronavirus outbreak). But top officials say that’s because the administration wants the CDC to narrow its focus to its core mission of preventing and controlling infectious diseases and handling public health crises.

The Washington Post: Trump Budget Cuts Funding for Health, Science, Environment Agencies

Trump also wants to cut the budget for the National Institutes of Health by 6.5%. (Yes, that would affect the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is working on a vaccine for the coronavirus.)

The Wall Street Journal: Trump Proposes $4.8 Trillion Budget, With Cuts to Safety Nets

Another odd little nugget in the budget: Trump wants to strip the FDA of its authority over tobacco products and create an agency within HHS solely for that purpose.

Stat: Trump Doesn’t Want the FDA to Regulate Tobacco

For a full breakdown of the budget’s details, check out our roundup here.


This week, the coronavirus strain got an official name, which is — drum roll, please —COVID-19. Although the announcement probably set off celebrations among scientists and researchers who have been driven up a wall because everyone has been simply calling it “coronavirus,” I am here to report that a day into its official designation 95% of headlines are stilling using only the generic term.

— It is, however, important to note that WHO officials were careful not to name the disease after a particular region or people so as to avoid further stigmatization surrounding any outbreaks.

Time: What’s in a Name? Why WHO’s Formal Name for the New Coronavirus Disease Matters

— As the death toll climbs in China, officials have expanded their “wartime” campaign to round up all the people who may be infected. But, as you can imagine, that is not going perfectly. Not only is it stoking tensions among an angry and scared nation whose residents aren’t happy with how the government is handling the crisis, but also it’s thrusting people who haven’t even tested positive for the virus into situations where they become vulnerable to infection.

The New York Times: China Expands Chaotic Dragnet in Coronavirus Crackdown

— Readers of The Friday Breeze know I’ve been harping on the fact that our national attention has been focused on COVID-19 even though we have only 15 (non-fatal) confirmed cases of it here and the common flu is far more deadly to us. Well, there’s a psychological basis for why we tend to panic over things that statistically are unlikely to affect us. Pretty much we can be terrible at accurately assessing risk.

The New York Times: Coronavirus ‘Hits All the Hot Buttons’ for How We Misjudge Risk

— It was a bit of a roller-coaster week with data coming out of China. At first, it seemed the cases were slowing down, but then the diagnostic criteria were tweaked, and all of a sudden we had nearly 15,000 cases added in one night.

The New York Times: Coronavirus Cases Seemed to Be Leveling Off. Not Anymore.

— CDC Director Robert Redfield said that the United States is essentially trying to buy time with its containment strategy, but it is quite likely there will eventually be person-to-person transmission of the virus here. (Which means people other than evacuees from Wuhan will start getting it.)

Stat: CDC Director: More Person-To-Person Coronavirus Infections in U.S. Likely

— And you can see how easily that could happen, given a U.S. evacuee was mistakenly released from the hospital even though she was infected with the coronavirus.

CNN: First US Evacuee Infected With Coronavirus Was Mistakenly Released From Hospital

— In an update from the cruise from h-e-double-hockey-sticks: Tensions continue to rise along with COVID-19 cases among the passengers and crew of a ship quarantined off the coast of Japan. As one health official said this week: Remember, quarantines are to keep those outside of its boundaries safe, not those within.

The New York Times: Quarantined Cruise Passengers Have Many Questions. Japan Has Few Answers.

— WHO has been heaping praise on China for its response to the crisis. And while other experts acknowledge the organization is in the tenuous position of not wanting to anger China enough that they break off relations, critics say the excessive compliments are setting a bad precedent about what a good pandemic response looks like.

The Wall Street Journal: The World Health Organization Draws Flak for Coronavirus Response

— Meanwhile, the coronavirus research filed is quite small. That’s because, despite the buzz these kinds of outbreaks create, eventually the world’s attention will be caught by a different shiny object and both the funding and interest in researching the virus will fade.

Stat: Fluctuating Funding and Flagging Interest Hurt Coronavirus Research


Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) got their wrists slapped by a powerful Nevada union this week for “viciously attacking” members and their families online. At the heart of the matter: The union had released information critical of Sanders’ “Medicare for All” plan. The clash put Sanders — who denounced any harassment as “unacceptable” — in an awkward spot just before the Nevada caucuses next week.

Politico: Nevada Culinary Union Lays Into Sanders Supporters After Health Care Backlash


A new survey found that even when patients plan ahead, many are still hit with surprise medical bills, especially if they receive anesthesia during a procedure. With health care spending rising again (driven by high costs like the out-of-pocket price tag for an emergency room visit), the report is a reminder that the issue is likely to be top of mind with voters come November.

Meanwhile, lawmakers well aware of that fact are moving forward with legislation that would favor an arbitration method for dealing with the surprise costs. This strategy is favored by hospitals and providers, and not embraced by insurers.

Reuters: Surprise Surgery Bills Happen Even When Patients Plan Ahead

Modern Healthcare: House Committee Advances Provider-Friendly Surprise Billing Fix


In a little bit of breaking news, a federal appellate court just shut down CMS’ approval of Arkansas’ Medicaid work requirement. The panel upheld a lower-court ruling that found the requirements arbitrary and capricious.

Modern Healthcare: D.C. Circuit Nixes Arkansas Medicaid Work Requirement


Juul has vowed time and again that it hasn’t marketed its products to teenagers. But new revelations from a Massachusetts lawsuit that the vaping company bought ads on Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network are challenging those promises.

The New York Times: Juul Bought Ads Appearing on Cartoon Network and Other Youth Sites, Suit Claims


The VA is no stranger to controversy, but the latest bout comes at a bad time for the agency. The abrupt firing of the agency’s well-liked undersecretary in combination with allegations that VA Secretary Robert Wilkie sought to dig up dirt on a woman after she said she was sexually assaulted at a VA facility have shaken the agency just as it is preparing to launch an ambitious health plan.

The New York Times: Veterans Affairs, a Trump Signature Issue, Is Facing Turmoil Again

Meanwhile, Trump continued to downplay brain injuries sustained by troops from an Iran missile strike even as the number of cases jumped past 100.

The New York Times: More Than 100 Troops Have Brain Injuries From Iran Missile Strike, Pentagon Says


In the miscellaneous file for the week:

— It’s notoriously hard to get any gun measures passed … except these advocates seem to be having some success. Their strategy? Go hyper-local.

NBC News: How Moms Are Quietly Passing Gun Safety Policy Through School Boards

— What’s going on with the Equal Rights Amendment and why has it become a fight over abortion? Politico takes a deep dive into its history about how the battle around the amendment has shifted in the nearly 40 years since it was introduced.

Politico: How the Debate Over the ERA Became a Fight Over Abortion

— New parents eager to better balance family and work life in the only industrialized country in the world without a paid family leave policy have started bringing their babies to their offices.

Stateline: You Can Bring Your Baby to Work (But Wouldn’t You Rather Be at Home?)

— In another crushing disappointment, an Alzheimer’s drug that had sparked high hopes was the latest to fail to live up to expectations.

The Associated Press: Drugs Fail to Slow Decline in Inherited Alzheimer’s Disease


That’s it from me. And remember, if you ever feel like flexing your poetic muscles outside of Valentine’sDay, we accept haiku submissions year-round. Have a great weekend!

Related Topics

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Viewpoints: No Surprise That No One Seriously Plans To Fix Surprise Medical Bills; ‘Medicare For All’ Isn’t What’s Hurting Warren, Other Dems

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Live from D.C. With Rep. Donna Shalala


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President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins in October proposes big cuts to popular programs, including Medicaid and the National Institutes of Health. Although those cuts are unlikely to be enacted by Congress, both Republicans and Democrats are likely to use the budget blueprint as a campaign issue.

Meanwhile, several House committees this week relaunched work on legislation to address “surprise” medical bills — unexpected charges from out-of-network providers. And Congress is still trying to come to a bipartisan agreement on how to address drug prices.

Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.) was the special guest for this week’s podcast, taped before a live audience at the Kaiser Family Foundation headquarters in Washington, D.C. Also joining host Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News were Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post, Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call and Joanne Kenen of Politico.

Among the takeaways from this week’s podcast:

  • One surprise in the president’s budget is a proposal to move tobacco regulation out from under the Food and Drug Administration’s purview. That comes despite a law Congress passed several years ago that specifically named the FDA as the regulator for tobacco.
  • Last year, it seemed clear that Congress and the White House were determined to find a way to protect consumers from surprise medical bills. But heavy lobbying on the issue and deep fissures in pinpointing the best remedy have slowed that effort. Shalala said she thinks Congress will produce a bill this year that will be balanced so that insurers and medical providers have to compromise.
  • Shalala said that in the 21 town meetings she has held in South Florida, no one has asked about efforts to end surprise bills. Most of the health questions focus on high drug prices and out-of-pocket costs. High out-of-pocket costs have been driven by the large number of people shifted into high-deductible insurance plans.
  • Shalala also said she doesn’t expect a plan to import drugs from Canada, endorsed by the Trump administration and some states, to go forward. Drugmakers sell Canada enough medicine to cover the population there, and not consumers in Florida, she added.

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Viewpoints: With America Facing Serious Problems Like Obesity, Why Retreat On Healthy School Lunches?; Lessons On Caring For Elderly During Climate Crisis

No Quick Fix: Missouri Finds Managing Pain Without Opioids Isn’t Fast Or Easy

ST. LOUIS — Missouri began offering chiropractic care, acupuncture, physical therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy for Medicaid patients in April, the latest state to try an alternative to opioids for those battling chronic pain.

Yet only about 500 of the state’s roughly 330,000 adult Medicaid users accessed the program through December, at a cost of $190,000, according to Josh Moore, the Missouri Medicaid pharmacy director. While the numbers may reflect an undercount because of lags in submitting claims, the jointly funded federal-state program known in the state as MO HealthNet is hitting just a fraction of possible patients so far.

Meanwhile, according to the state, opioids were still being doled out: 109,610 Missouri Medicaid patients of all age groups received opioid prescriptions last year.

The going has been slow, health experts said, because of a slew of barriers. Such treatments are more time-consuming and involved than simply getting a prescription. A limited number of providers offer alternative treatment options, especially to Medicaid patients. And perhaps the biggest problem? These therapies don’t seem to work for everyone.

The slow rollout highlights the overall challenges in implementing programs aimed at righting the ship on opioid abuse in Missouri — and nationwide. To be sure, from 2012 to 2019, the number of Missouri Medicaid patients prescribed opioid drugs fell by more than a third — and the quantity of opioids dispensed by Medicaid dropped by more than half.

Still, opioid overdoses killed an estimated 1,132 Missourians in 2018 and 46,802 Americans nationally, according to the latest data available. Progress to change that can be frustratingly slow.

“The opioids crisis we got into wasn’t born in a year,” Moore said. “To expect we’d get perfect results after a year would be incredibly optimistic.”

Despite limited data on the efficacy of alternative pain management plans, such efforts have become more accepted, especially following a summer report of pain management best practices from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. States such as Ohio and Oregon see them as one part of a menu of options aimed at curbing the opioid crisis.

St. Louis chiropractor Ross Mattox, an assistant professor at chiropractic school Logan University, sees both uninsured patients and those on Medicaid at the CareSTL clinic. He cheered Missouri’s decision to expand access, despite how long it took to get here.

“One of the most common things I heard from providers,” he said, “is ‘I want to send my patient to a chiropractor, but they don’t have the insurance. I don’t want to prescribe an opioid — I’d rather go a more conservative route — but that’s the only option I have.’”

And that can lead to the same tragic story: Someone gets addicted to opioids, runs out of a prescription and turns to the street before becoming another sad statistic.

“It all starts quite simply with back pain,” Mattox said.

Practical Barriers

While Missouri health care providers now have another tool besides prescribing opioids to patients with Medicaid, the multistep approaches required by alternative treatments create many more hoops than a pharmacy visit.

The physicians who recommend such treatments must support the option, and patients must agree. Then the patient must be able to find a provider who accepts Medicaid, get to the provider’s office even if far away and then undergo multiple, time-consuming therapies.

“After you see the chiropractor’s for one visit, it’s not like you’re cured from using opioids forever — it would take months and months and months,” Moore said.

The effort and cost that go into coordinating a care plan with multiple alternative pain therapies is another barrier.

“Covering a course of cheap opioid pills is different than trying to create a multidisciplinary individualized plan that may or may not work,” said Leo Beletsky, a professor of law and health sciences at Northeastern University in Boston, noting that the scientific evidence of the efficacy of such treatments is mixed.

And then there’s the reimbursement issue for the providers. Corry Meyers, an acupuncturist in suburban St. Louis, does not accept insurance in his practice. But he said other acupuncturists in Missouri debate whether to take advantage of the new Medicaid program, concerned the payment rates to providers will be too low to be worthwhile.

“It runs the gamut, as everyone agrees that these patients need it,” Meyers stressed. But he said many acupuncturists wonder: “Am I going to be able to stay open if I take Medicaid?”

Structural Issues 

While helpful, plans like Missouri’s don’t address the structural problems at the root of the opioid crisis, Beletsky said.

“Opioid overutilization or overprescribing is not just a crisis in and of itself; it’s a symptom of broader structural problems in the U.S. health care system,” he said. “Prescribers reached for opioids in larger and larger numbers not just because they were being fooled into doing so by these pharmaceutical companies, but because they work really well for a broad variety of ailments for which we’re not doing enough in terms of prevention and treatment.”

Fixing some of the core problems leading to opioid dependence — rural health care “deserts” and the impact of manual labor and obesity on chronic pain — requires much more than a treatment alternative, Beletsky said.

And no matter how many alternatives are offered, he said, opioids will remain a crucial medicine for some patients.

Furthermore, while alternative pain management therapies may lessen opioid prescriptions, they do not address exploding methamphetamine addiction or other addiction crises leading to overdoses nationwide — even as a flood of funds pours in from the national and state level to fight these crises.

The Show-Me State’s refusal to expand Medicaid coverage to more people under the Affordable Care Act also hampers overall progress, said Dr. Fred Rottnek, a family and addiction doctor who sits on the St. Louis Regional Health Commission as chair of the Provider Services Advisory Board.

“The problem is we relatively cover so few people in Missouri with Medicaid,” he said. “The denominator is so small that it doesn’t affect the numbers a whole lot.”

But providers like Mattox are happy that such alternative treatments are now an option, even if they’re available only for a limited audience.

He just wishes it had been done sooner.

“A lot of it has to do with politics and the slow gears of government,” he said. “Unfortunately, it’s taken people dying — it’s taken enough of a crisis for people to open their eyes and say, ‘Maybe there’s a better way to do this.’”

Related Topics

Medicaid Mental Health Public Health States

‘We’re In The Locker Room, Wondering What Happened’: N.C. Republicans Losing Ground In Medicaid Stand-Off

Must-Reads Of The Week From Brianna Labuskes

Happy Friday! In news that is technically really good and exciting but is also kind of icky: yarn made from human skin could eventually be used to stitch up surgical wounds as a way to cut down on detrimental reactions from patients. As CNN reports, “The researchers say their ‘human textile,’ which they developed from skin cells, can be used for knitting, sewing and even crochet.” My face has been stuck in the scream emoji since I read this story, so please join me. (Also for those who think neat!, make sure to check out Philadelphia’s Mutter Museum, which has a journal bound with human skin and is actually very cool.)

Now on to what you may have missed this week.

It’s that time of year! President Donald Trump gave his State of the Union address to Congress, where he declared the nation’s future to be “blazing bright.” During his speech he promised to “never let socialism destroy American health care,” encouraged Congress to send him a bill on drug pricing (to which Democrats began chanting the name of the legislation the House has already passed), and touted his administration’s push for price transparency in health care.

He also said that Democrats were trying to provide health coverage for immigrants who are in the country illegally; called for a ban on abortions that are late in term; promised to always protect Medicare; said more than 7 million people have been shifted off food stamps during his term; and took credit for a drop in health insurance premiums. Various outlets fact checked these statements — which range from completely false to misleading to true — so I’ll link to a collection of them.

Fact Checking State Of The Union: Premiums, Pre-existing Conditions, Price Transparency, And More

The New York Times: Six Takeaways From Trump’s 2020 State Of The Union Speech

Stat: Dems Interrupted The State Of The Union To Chant For Their Drug Pricing Bill


And now for the coronavirus roundup, where I sifted through hundreds of stories so you don’t have to. Before we dive in, just a reminder that there are still only 12 confirmed cases in the U.S.

— As coronavirus cases in China skyrocket past 30,000 (with 636 deaths), Chinese officials are now performing house-to-house searches in Wuhan, collecting the sick and warehousing them in quarantine centers. In the city, there’s a growing sense that the residents are being sacrificed for the good of the rest of the country. “There must be no deserters, or they will be nailed to the pillar of historical shame forever,” said Vice Premier Sun Chunlan.

The New York Times: China Tightens Wuhan Lockdown In ‘Wartime’ Battle With Coronavirus

— The death of one of the first Chinese doctors to warn about a coronavirus outbreak sent waves of grief and anger through a nation that’s growing more and more frustrated with how its government is handling the outbreak.

The New York Times: A Rare Online Revolt Emerges In China Over Death Of Coronavirus Whistle-Blower

— After a week of cases jumping by double-digit percentages, health officials still say it’s too early to declare that the virus has peaked.

The Wall Street Journal: World Health Authorities Warn Virus Hasn’t Peaked After China’s Deadliest Day

— Hundreds more Americans were evacuated from China and will be quarantined by the U.S. government. But the outrageous fact I learned this week is that those people (and their insurers) are on the hook for any medical costs that arise from being quarantined. For those who are deemed unable to afford health insurance, the government will pick up the tab but it might outsource some of those costs to programs like Medicaid when possible. The evacuees also have to pay for their flight out of China and the cost to get to their final destination when the quarantine is over.

CNN: What It Means To Be Under The Coronavirus Federal Quarantine In The US

— In what seems a bit like the start of a dystopian reality TV show, thousands of cruise passengers are being quarantined on two ships off the coast of Japan and Hong Kong. A third cruise has been turned away from multiple ports.

The Washington Post: Trapped On Coronavirus-Ravaged Cruise Ship, Diamond Princess Passengers Struggle To Keep Spirits Up

— This story is an interesting look at how the first case in the U.S. was discovered, and more broadly showcases local public health officials who are often the ones on the front lines of a new outbreak.

The New York Times: Inside The Race To Contain America’s First Coronavirus Case

— The majority of human diseases, including the coronavirus, are zoonotic, or passed from animals to humans. If you want a brief summary of some notable ones throughout history, check out this piece from WSJ that includes a shout-out to a 5,300 mummified man who, before he died from an arrow, suffered from Lyme disease.

The Wall Street Journal: Plagues From The Animal Kingdom

— Not to be all doom and gloom, it seems to be humans’ lot in life to constantly be at war with pathogens. That means even if we contain the coronavirus, there’s just another deadly pathogen waiting in the wings.

Bloomberg: Man Vs. Microbe: We’re Not Ready For The Next Global Virus Outbreak

Meanwhile, this year’s strain of the flu is hitting children particularly hard. More than half of the positive flu tests from public health labs this season have been in children and adults under the age of 25.

The Wall Street Journal: The Flu Is Hitting Children Especially Hard This Season


It might be hard to focus on anything but the results snafu at the Iowa caucuses, but advocates for disabled voters are also reporting back on how the efforts to expand access played out. The Iowa Democratic Party took strides this year to better help disabled voters participate, and for some the experience was positive. Others, however, said that reality looked a lot different than what the party’s messaging promised.

Stateline: Confusion Reigned In Iowa Caucus — Even Before The Chaotic Results

Stat: Amid Iowa Chaos, Some With Disabilities Got An Accessible Caucus Location


In theory, employers pay their workers less because part of their benefits package includes health insurance. But if the country moved toward a “Medicare for All” model, would workers see their wages increase dollar-by-dollar of what was being spent on coverage? Not necessarily.

The New York Times: Would Your Wages Rise Under ‘Medicare For All’?


Although the Trump administration’s roll-out of the “Healthy Adult Opportunity” program that would encourage states to shift toward a block-grant style of funding drew lots of attention, a little-noticed change that could lead to big cuts flew somewhat under the radar. Governors of both parties, however, are sounding the alarm that an arcane fiscal accountability rule could lead to cuts up to $49 billion a year.

The Associated Press: Trump Rule Could Lead To Big Medicaid Cuts, Governors Warn


As is often the case with bans, teenagers are already finding a way around the e-cigarette flavor restrictions that went into effect this week. The FDA only regulated reusable vaping products, but disposable pods (with flavors like pink lemonade) are widely available at gas stations and the like.

The Associated Press: FDA Crackdown On Vaping Flavors Has Blind Spot: Disposables


VA Secretary Robert Wilkie abruptly fired his undersecretary, James Byrne, this week in what he called a “simple business decision.” Wilkie was forced to defend the decision because Byrne was well-liked by the veterans community, and the loss was just the latest in a long string of turnovers at the top of the troubled agency. Some also questioned if the dismissal had anything to do with the investigation of sexual assault allegations by Navy veteran Andrea Goldstein.

The New York Times: Deputy Secretary Of Veterans Affairs Is Abruptly Dismissed


And in the miscellaneous file for the week:

— Following the recent deaths of 15 inmates, the Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation into the Mississippi prison system, which seems to be in the grips of a violent crisis.

The New York Times: Justice Dept. Opens Civil Rights Investigation Into Mississippi Prisons

— Anonymous reporting systems that have been set up to help prevent school shootings have actually been helping combat the epidemic of suicides in teens. Schools and local officials are pouring billions of dollars into preventing the next mass attack, and yet self-harm and suicidal ideation are what students are reporting far more often than any kind of suspicious activity. Public health officials say this should be a wake-up call about the real threat to young people.

NBC News: School Tip Lines Were Meant To Stop Shootings, But Uncovered A Teen Suicide Crisis

— How do you raise kids to prepare them for the projected negative effects of climate change without causing more trauma, anxiety and depression in a generation that’s already struggling to cope with such mental health issues? It’s a fine line to walk, experts say.

The Washington Post: Eco-Anxiety Is Overwhelming Kids. Where’s The Line Between Education And Alarmism?


And that’s it from me! Have a great weekend.

Related Topics

Cost and Quality Health Care Costs Health Industry Insurance Medicaid Medicare Pharmaceuticals Public Health The Health Law Uninsured

Geographical Disparities Created By Medicaid Restrictions Has Some People Crossing State Lines To Seek Care