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From Kaiser Health News:

Kaiser Health News Original Stories

5. Political Cartoon: 'Two Birds, One Stone'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Two Birds, One Stone'" by Chip Bok.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


Why travel the world?
Stem cell clinics are here, too.
Is this good or bad?

If you have a health policy haiku to share, please Contact Us and let us know if you want us to include your name. Keep in mind that we give extra points if you link back to a KHN original story.

Summaries Of The News:

Health Law Issues And Implementation

6. Drop-Out Rate For Those Covered By Health Law Slightly Higher Than Predicted

The 13 percent of people who dropped coverage is more than predicted, since the Department of Health and Human Services had been actively trying to weed out problematic applications, but the attrition of nearly 1.6 million is in a "reasonable range." Meanwhile, the health law's risk-adjustment program is under fire.

The Associated Press: About 1.6M Drop-Outs From Health Law Coverage This Year
About 1.6 million people who signed up for coverage this year under President Barack Obama's health care law dropped out by the end of March, according to administration figures released late Thursday. The report from the Health and Human Services department said some 11.1 million people were still signed up. But that's a drop of nearly 13 percent from the 12.7 million who initially enrolled for subsidized private coverage this year. Those dropouts failed to seal the deal by paying their premiums. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 6/30)

Modern Healthcare: ACA's Risk Adjustment Hammers Small Plans Again
Small, regional health insurers and upstart co-op plans again incurred large charges under the Affordable Care Act's risk-adjustment program, according to new data the CMS released Thursday. Calendar year 2015 marks the second year of risk adjustment, and many smaller insurers have had to pay into the program both years. (Herman, 6/30)

The Associated Press: NY Regulators Want Insurer Risk-Adjustment Program Changed
New York insurance regulators say the federally mandated program for adjusting financial risk under the Affordable Care Act unduly affects the finances of newer and smaller insurers. Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo says in a letter to federal authorities there should be immediate changes in the risk-adjustment program, which transfers pooled funds to plans with higher-risk clients. (6/30)

7. More Than 233,000 Louisiana Residents Gain Medicaid Coverage Today As Expansion Goes Into Effect

Louisiana is the first state in the Deep South to overcome Republican resistance and implement the health law's Medicaid expansion for low-income residents. Meanwhile officials in Kentucky, which expanded Medicaid early on, say the new governor's efforts to curb that program is likely to win federal approval.

The Associated Press: Louisiana 1st State In Deep South To Expand Medicaid
Louisiana is becoming the first state in the Republican-dominated Deep South to expand its Medicaid program, with more than 233,000 people already enrolled in the government-financed insurance coverage that begins Friday. Medicaid expansion fulfills one of Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards' main campaign promises, embracing the health law championed by President Barack Obama after years of GOP stonewalling in Louisiana. (Deslatte, 6/30)

New Orleans Times-Picayune: Louisiana Medicaid Expansion And The Promise Of Economic Security
Most of the people eligible for Medicaid expansion work jobs that don't offer sick days. For those working in the hospitality industry missing work due to illness means a loss of income. Most newly eligible Medicaid recipients earn between $16,395 and $33,534 (the household income level can be as high as $44,961 for a family of six). James Comeaux, a vice president at Access Health Louisiana, said that means that nearly everyone in that category loses money when they miss work. (Litten, 6/30)

New Orleans Times-Picayune: New Orleans Clinics, Hospitals Help Pay For Signing Up New Medicaid Clients
Hospitals and clinics throughout the New Orleans area are helping the state cover the costs of enrolling more people in Medicaid, a result of lawmakers being unwilling to pay for workers to assist with Medicaid expansion. The hospitals and clinics say these workers are crucial to ensuring the state can add the 375,000 recipients now eligible for the federally subsidized health care program. (Litten, 6/30)

Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal: State: Feds Likely To OK Ky Medicaid Changes
Gov. Matt Bevin's week-old proposal to overhaul the state Medicaid program already is under fire from critics, who say it will cut benefits and reduce health care for some of Kentucky's poorest citizens. But a team of officials promoting Bevin's plan on Thursday told a group of health executives that they are confident of winning the required federal approval for a "waiver" to enact changes that the governor pledges will transform the $10 billion-a-year federal-state health plan that serves nearly one-third of the state's citizens. (Yetter, 6/30)

8. Federal Medicaid Officials Give Tenn. Two-Month Waiver While Talks Continue On Funding

The sticking point is federal funding for hospitals that have high levels of uncompensated care. Federal officials want to discontinue that funding and say states can overcome that problem by expanding their Medicaid programs.

Modern Healthcare: CMS Renews Tennessee's Medicaid Waiver On The Day It Expired
The CMS granted Tennessee a two-month temporary extension on a Medicaid managed-care waiver that expired Thursday. TennCare, the state's managed-care Medicaid system, was authorized in 2002 under an 1115 waiver. TennCare members mostly are low-income pregnant women, children and individuals who are elderly or have a disability. ... The CMS' has increasingly resisted paying for healthcare for the uninsured now that most of them have access to coverage under the Affordable Care Act. That issue has been a hurdle in renewing 115 waivers in other states, including California, Texas and Florida. California, Florida, Tennessee and Texas have relied on the waiver's pools of money that pay for the hospital stays of patients who can't afford it. (Dickson, 6/30)

The Tennessean: Feds Expected To Extend TennCare Talks
State and federal officials are concurrently negotiating the future of uncompensated care pools, which help hospitals offset costs. An extension of negotiations has been expected, observers said. ... Uncompensated care pools have come under review by federal officials over the last year because more people were supposed to be covered under expanded Medicaid programs using federal funds under the Affordable Care Act. Insure Tennessee, Gov. Bill Haslam's coverage plan using federal Medicaid funding, failed in the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions. (Fletcher, 6/30)

The Tennessean: Beth Harwell Task Force Pitches TennCare Expansion Plan
TennCare would be expanded via a phase-in program that places priority on veterans and people with mental health or substance abuse disorders under a proposal from the health care task force commissioned by House Speaker Beth Harwell. The proposal from the 3-Star Healthy Task Force outlines a two-step program that encourages people to develop relationships with physicians, get behavioral health treatment in tandem with physical health treatment and includes a work and education component to help people into positions lucrative enough to finance commercial coverage. (Fletcher and Evert, 6/30)

Women’s Health

9. After High Court Ruling, Abortion Advocates Target Potentially Vulnerable Laws In 8 States

There are laws on the books in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia with measures similar to the ones struck down this week by the Supreme Court. The campaign will also go after Texas provisions that weren't included in the ruling. Meanwhile judges in Indiana and Florida block abortion laws that were set to go into effect in those states. And in Missouri, officials say they won't immediately cut off

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