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Coffee CAHC policy round-up: January 10, 2018

Coffee CAHC is a twice-weekly newsletter where we round up and comment on the latest health coverage policy developments both nationally and here in Maine. We hope you find these updates helpful!

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Coffee CAHC

115th Congress, 1st session

128th Maine Legislature, 2nd regular session

 

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Our weekly staff meetings here at CAHC are on Wednesday mornings, and we always start with a “question of the day” – a random question to help us get to know each other a little better as human people, rather than just coworkers. Today’s was “what’s something beautiful you’ve seen recently?” My answer was “yesterday, stuff dripping and melting, and today, a small patch of bare driveway at home.” I never thought that seeing “40” in the forecast would feel like a slice of paradise!

 

National level

I can only shake my head at this report that the ACA stabilization bills championed by Senator Collins as a pre-condition for her support for the tax bill (a condition that, of course, she later abandoned) were delayed after anti-abortion groups met with Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Apparently, these groups are outraged that the bills weren’t being used as vehicles to advance their agenda, and that’s why Leader McConnell agreed to delay them – a delay that Senator Collins later said she was fine with.

This article is from last week, but I’ve seen some Twitter rumblings today from folks in the know that the Trump Administration is preparing to release new guidance on work requirements for Medicaid recipients within the next day or two. Ugh. As we’ve covered before, work requirements are a failed policy that don’t help Medicaid recipients actually find jobs – because most Medicaid recipients are already working. These policies are nothing but a thinly veiled method of throwing people off of Medicaid.

Meanwhile, CHIP reauthorization is still in limbo, although it now seems that, despite the short-term patch Congress thought would keep the program limping along for a few months, some states will run out of CHIP funding within the next few weeks. I’m running out of ways to express my dismay on this one. Well…running out of polite ways to express it, anyway.

 

State level

Once again, I’m afraid that I don’t have a lot of state news for you, but looking at the committee calendars for the next few weeks, that should change soon.

 

Would you like to know more?

JP Morgan Chase released a report showing that a depressing number of Americans use their tax refunds to pay for delayed health care. I say “depressing” because I find it sad that out of pocket costs continue to be such a frustrating barricade between Americans and their doctors.

 

Until next time, friends, I remain,

-Steve

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