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Overnight Health Care: Over 7,000 fail to meet Medicaid work rules in Arkansas | Judge temporarily halts deportations of reunited families | GOP chair in talks over restarting ObamaCare payments

Overnight Health Care: Over 7,000 fail to meet Medicaid work rules in Arkansas | Judge temporarily halts deportations of reunited families | GOP chair in talks over restarting ObamaCare payments
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Happy Monday, and welcome to Overnight Health Care, Home Run Derby edition.

We're assuming that like the rest of Washington, you were captivated by President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Trump believes Kushner relationship with Saudi crown prince a liability: report Christine Blasey Ford to be honored by Palo Alto City Council MORE's jaw-dropping/wild/surreal press conference with Vladimir Putin from Helsinki, Finland.

Here's all the health care news you may have missed starting with the latest on the administration's plan to reunite parents with the children taken from them at the U.S. border. Also, thousands of Arkansas residents are at risk of losing Medicaid coverage because they failed to meet the state's new work requirements. Democrats want the Trump administration to resume the risk adjustment program, and Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinObama to campaign for Dems in Wisconsin Treasury sets politics aside, admits China isn't a currency manipulator Hillicon Valley: Facebook deletes accounts for political 'spam' | Leaked research shows Google's struggles with online free speech | Trump's praise for North Korea complicates cyber deterrence | Senators want Google memo on privacy bug MORE (D-Wis.) isn't buying the hype about Pfizer's drug pricing moves.

We'll start off in Arkansas.

 

More than 7,000 Arkansas residents failed to meet the state's new Medicaid work requirements in the first month since they took effect, according to a report released by the state.

The work requirement requires non-exempt beneficiaries to report how they are satisfying an 80-hour a month work requirement every month. The work requirement can be fulfilled by working, searching for a job, job training, and other activities.

In June, 7,464 did not meet those reporting requirements, while 445 people did.

About 18,000 beneficiaries subject to the work requirement are exempt from reporting their activities to the state because they already meet the requirement through work, school, or other life situations.

Why it matters: If those who failed to report their activities last month fail to do so two more times, they will lose their benefits.

What's next: Expect these numbers to be used in any future litigation against states implementing work requirements. A federal judge in Kentucky blocked the state's work requirements last month, ruling that the Trump administration "never adequately considered whether Kentucky HEALTH would in fact help the state furnish medical assistance to its citizens, a central objective of Medicaid."

Read more about the analysis here.

 

Federal judge pauses deportations of recently reunited families. San Diego-based Judge Dana Sabraw granted a request from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to issue a week-long stay of the administration's efforts to deport parents who have been recently reunited with their children.

ACLU attorneys said the delay was necessary because of "persistent and increasing rumors – which Defendants have refused to deny – that mass deportations may be carried out imminently and immediately upon reunification."

Sabraw gave the government one week to file a brief opposing the request.

New numbers: On Friday, HHS said the agency has 2,551 children between the ages of 5 and 17 in custody. During the hearing on Monday, HHS official Jonathan White gave a more detailed breakdown:

  • HHS has matched 2,480 of them to parents, meaning that 71 still have unknown parentage.
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has 1,609 parents in custody.
  • 1,317 of those parents have been initially deemed "fit" by HHS and will not be a danger to the children, and can be reunited.
  • ICE has cleared 918 of them.

New plan: HHS on Friday outlined a plan to expedite the reunifications, but said it wouldn't be able to meet the court's July 26 deadline because it needs to conduct extensive verification and background checks, including DNA tests.

Sabraw was not pleased, and reprimanded the agency for using the safety of children as a cover for slow-walking reunifications. So on Sunday, HHS updated its plan; now there's no need to use DNA testing to verify parentage, like it did with children under five.

Read about the latest updates here

 

While we're talking about the family separation policy...

 

Democrats are trying to balance the fight over the Supreme Court with their anger about the administration's "zero tolerance" family separations.

Democrats are essentially fighting on two different fronts here. The problem for them: The Supreme Court fight is just heating up, and is threatening to take all the oxygen from other issues.

Thousands of children are still being held in HHS custody though after being separated from their parents under the Trump administration's immigration policy, and Democrats are trying to keep up the pressure, even as the issue fades from the headlines.

Read about the tight balancing act here.

 

GOP chairman in talks with Trump officials on restarting ObamaCare payments

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Some ObamaCare premiums to decrease next year | Sanders hits back at Trump over 'Medicare for all' | Panel to investigate rising maternal mortality rates House committee to investigate rising maternal mortality rates How the Trump tax law passed: The final stretch MORE (R-Texas) wants to get key ObamaCare payments restarted, warning about high ObamaCare premiums.

Path forward: It's not clear what the next step is, but Brady interestingly left the door open to legislative action. Democrats are pushing the administration to fix the issue on its own.

"The administration wants to restore those payments, so we're looking at ways that we can help them do that," Brady told reporters.

Next week: The House is planning to vote next week on a range of health-care bills, including expanding health savings accounts and delaying or repealing certain ObamaCare taxes, Brady said.

Asked whether a fix to restart the payments could be included in that package next week, Brady said, "That I don't know."

"We're continuing to engage with the secretary and others on this," he said.

Read more here.

 

On the Dem side, lawmakers press Trump to restart the payments.  Top congressional Democrats are calling on the Trump administration to reverse its decision to suspend key ObamaCare payments to insurers, warning the suspension will cause premiums to rise.

What they say: "The Administration's decision to suspend these collections and payments, which are required under federal law, appears to be yet another attempt by the Trump Administration to sabotage the nation's health care system for partisan gain," the Democrats wrote in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Backstory: Earlier this month, the administration made the surprise announcement that it is suspending $10.4 billion in payments to health insurers, through a program called risk adjustment.

No bailout: But unlike when the administration cut off cost sharing reduction payments, Republicans can't argue risk adjustment spends taxpayer money to prop up ObamaCare. No taxpayer money is involved in the program. Instead money is collected from some insurers (those with healthier patients overall) and redistributed to insurers with sicker and more costly patients to help cover their costs.

Read more here.

 

Monday roundup:

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) called on Pfizer to "permanently roll back prices" and stop "playing games" days after the company said it would temporarily postpone a planned price hike.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) handed out nearly $1 billion in grants last year for child welfare services for detained migrant children, according to The Associated Press.

 

What we're reading:

Hidden from view: The astonishingly high administrative costs of U.S. health care (The New York Times)

Potential CRISPR damage has been 'seriously underestimated,' study finds (STAT)

Urgent care clinics are prescribing too many unnecessary antibiotics, study ways (The Washington Post)  

 

State by state:

In Florida, midterm elections hold faint hope for Medicaid expansion (Kaiser Health News)

Cuomo moves closer to marijuana legalization in New York (The New York Times)

Ohio attorney general says he supports pre-existing conditions in ACA, but state hasn't joined lawsuit to keep that (Statehouse News Bureau)

 

From The Hill's opinion page:

US puts business ahead of children's health

Yet another ObamaCare problem needs to be cleaned up by Trump