From The Washington Post

Trump Administration Appeals Rulings That Blocked Medicaid Work Requirements

April 10, 2019

The Trump administration appealed court rulings Wednesday by a federal judge that blocked federally approved programs in two states to compel some able-bodied people to work to qualify for Medicaid.

The appeals, in cases challenging Kentucky and Arkansas’s Medicaid work requirements, come two weeks after a federal judge in Washington issued opinions that President Trump’s top health aides had been “arbitrary and capricious” in allowing the new rules and failed to consider their effect on vulnerable residents’ access to health insurance.

The Trump administration appealed court rulings Wednesday by a federal judge that blocked federally approved programs in two states to compel some able-bodied people to work to qualify for Medicaid.

The appeals, in cases challenging Kentucky and Arkansas’s Medicaid work requirements, come two weeks after a federal judge in Washington issued opinions that President Trump’s top health aides had been “arbitrary and capricious” in allowing the new rules and failed to consider their effect on vulnerable residents’ access to health insurance.

For Kentucky’s program, which was to have started April 1, the opinion was the second time U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg had ruled against the “community engagement” rules and sent the state’s plan back to the Department of Health and Human Services to reevaluate….

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Trump Surprises Republicans — and Pleases Democrats — With Push to Revive Health-Care Battle

March 26, 2019

A surprise move by the Trump administration aimed at striking down the Affordable Care Act thrust the partisan battle over health care into the middle of the 2020 campaign on Tuesday, handing Democrats a potential political gift on an issue that damaged Republicans badly in last year’s midterm elections.

In a new court filing, the Justice Department argued that the ACA, also known as Obamacare, should be thrown out in its entirety, including provisions protecting millions of Americans with preexisting health conditions and allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health-care plans.

A surprise move by the Trump administration aimed at striking down the Affordable Care Act thrust the partisan battle over health care into the middle of the 2020 campaign on Tuesday, handing Democrats a potential political gift on an issue that damaged Republicans badly in last year’s midterm elections.

In a new court filing, the Justice Department argued that the ACA, also known as Obamacare, should be thrown out in its entirety, including provisions protecting millions of Americans with preexisting health conditions and allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health-care plans.

President Trump praised the move during a lunch with Senate Republicans, and suggested the GOP should embrace a new congressional battle over health-care policy ahead of the 2020 elections.

“Let me tell you exactly what my message is: The Republican Party will soon be known as the party of health care,” he told reporters before the lunch. “You watch….”

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Trump Proposes Big Cuts to Health Programs for Poor, Elderly and Disabled

March 11, 2019

The Trump administration is proposing a sharp slowdown in Medicaid spending as part of a broad reduction in the government’s investment in health care, calling for the public insurance for the poor to morph from an entitlement program to state block grants even after a Republican Congress rejected the idea.

The budget released by the White House on Monday also calls for a sizable reduction for Medicare, the federal insurance for older Americans that President Trump has consistently promised to protect. Most of the trims relate to changing payments to doctors and hospitals and renewing efforts to ferret out fraud and wasteful billing — oft-cited targets by presidents of both parties.

The Trump administration is proposing a sharp slowdown in Medicaid spending as part of a broad reduction in the government’s investment in health care, calling for the public insurance for the poor to morph from an entitlement program to state block grants even after a Republican Congress rejected the idea.

The budget released by the White House on Monday also calls for a sizable reduction for Medicare, the federal insurance for older Americans that President Trump has consistently promised to protect. Most of the trims relate to changing payments to doctors and hospitals and renewing efforts to ferret out fraud and wasteful billing — oft-cited targets by presidents of both parties.

In keeping with Trump’s promise in last month’s State of the Union address to halt the spread of HIV over the next decade, the budget includes an initial installment of $291 million next year targeted to communities where the virus is continuing to infect people not getting proper treatment — the rural parts of seven states, including Mississippi; the District of Columbia; Puerto Rico and 48 hot-spot counties scattered throughout the country….

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ACA Premiums Rising Beyond Reach of Older, Middle-Class Consumers

March 5, 2019

The sweeping health-care law created nearly a decade ago to put insurance within reach of more Americans has left significant holes in the ability of older, middle-class people to afford coverage, particularly in rural areas, according to a new analysis.

The sweeping health-care law created nearly a decade ago to put insurance within reach of more Americans has left significant holes in the ability of older, middle-class people to afford coverage, particularly in rural areas, according to a new analysis.

Sixty-year-olds with a $50,000 income must pay at least one-fifth of what they earn for the least expensive premiums for health plans in Affordable Care Act marketplaces across a broad swath of the Midwest, the analysis shows. In much of the country, those premiums require at least one-sixth of such people’s income.

The findings, issued Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, underscore why the Trump administration and other Republicans are pushing inexpensive insurance that bypasses ACA rules and protections — and why Democrats are pursuing strategies to make ACA plans more affordable….

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Walmart Drops CVS Pharmacy Coverage in Price Dispute

January 15, 2019

Walmart said Tuesday that it would no longer honor prescription drug coverage from CVS Health, leaving large numbers of Walmart customers searching for a new pharmacist and amplifying concerns about the growing market power of the CVS empire.

Walmart confirmed its exit from the CVS Health pharmacy insurance program, called CVS Caremark, after CVS refused the retail giant’s demand for larger reimbursements for the prescription drugs it dispenses.

Walmart said Tuesday that it would no longer honor prescription drug coverage from CVS Health, leaving large numbers of Walmart customers searching for a new pharmacist and amplifying concerns about the growing market power of the CVS empire.

Walmart confirmed its exit from the CVS Health pharmacy insurance program, called CVS Caremark, after CVS refused the retail giant’s demand for larger reimbursements for the prescription drugs it dispenses.

The move affects Walmart customers with CVS Caremark pharmacy coverage through employer-sponsored insurance and state Medicaid managed-care plans. It does not affect Medicare beneficiaries. It also does not affect pharmacies at Sam’s Club stores.

Walmart and CVS did not provide an estimate Tuesday of how many people will be affected….

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