Overnight Healthcare

Overnight Health Care: South Dakota proposes Medicaid work requirements | Senate Republicans sign off on opioids package | GOP targets Manchin over Planned Parenthood

Welcome to Tuesday’s Overnight Health Care, brought to you from a sweltering Washington, D.C. Crank up the AC and keep reading for the latest health care news.


South Dakota asks Trump administration to approve work requirements for parents, caretakers on Medicaid.

South Dakota health officials are asking the Trump administration to approve a program that would impose work requirements on some Medicaid recipients who are parents or caretakers.

Under the proposal, parents aged 19 to 59 and other caretakers on Medicaid who live in South Dakota’s two most populous counties would have to work at least 80 hours a month, take classes or complete other activities to keep their coverage.

Those who don’t meet the requirements for three months in one year lose their coverage.

The purpose of the program, state officials wrote in the application, is to “improve the health and wellbeing of able-bodied adult Medicaid recipients while empowering them to obtain full-time meaningful work.”

Context: The administration has approved work requirements for states that expanded Medicaid to cover more low-income childless adults. Most of these programs have exemptions for recipients with children. However, if approved, South Dakota would be the first state to impose work requirements on the traditional Medicaid population, and the first state to require people with kids work.

Mississippi and Maine have similar requests in with the administration.

Read more here.


Opioids package takes step forward with all Republican senators signing off.

Opioid legislation took a step forward on Tuesday when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that there are no objections on the Republican side to moving forward with the legislation. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said he hopes the Senate can vote on the package next week.

McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said that there is still an objection on the Democratic side.

Aides to Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), ranking member of the health committee, did not respond to requests for comment.

Context: This is only one step in the process. Any legislation that passes the Senate still needs to be reconciled with the package the House passed this summer before it’s sent to the president. So the timeline here isn’t clear. But getting all Republicans on board is a key step.


The National Republican Senatorial Committee is targeting vulnerable red state Democrat Joe Manchin over his history on Planned Parenthood.

We saw this coming from a mile away. Remember last April when Manchin took two separate photos with supporters, within weeks of each other, holding signs in support and in opposition of Planned Parenthood?

It’s a campaign ad now, paid for by the NRSC. View it here.


Hurricane Maria caused nearly 3,000 deaths in Puerto Rico, a new study estimates.

The study, commissioned by the Puerto Rican government and conducted by researchers at George Washington University, came to that conclusion by analyzing death patterns from 2010 to 2017. Researchers then compared that data to the number of deaths between September 2017 and February 2018.

“Overall, we estimate that 40 percent of municipalities experienced significantly higher mortality in the study period than in the comparable period of the previous two years,” the report says.

The study found that the risk of death was 45 percent higher for people living in areas where there is low socioeconomic development.

Context: 3,000 is much higher than the Puerto Rican government’s initial death count of 64. Gov. Ricardo Rossello revised the count Tuesday after the release of the report and said he will create a commission to implement its recommendations.

Read more here.


California gov candidate backs universal healthcare for undocumented immigrants.

Gavin Newsom, the Democratic candidate for governor in California, is one of a handful of gubernatorial candidates pushing for state-backed single-payer. And he’s making clear that he wants that to extend that to undocumented immigrants as well.

“I did universal healthcare when I was mayor — fully implemented, regardless of pre-existing condition, ability to pay, and regardless of your immigration status,” Newsom told the podcast Pod Save America, referencing his stint as San Francisco’s mayor. “I’d like to see that extended to the rest of the state.

“San Francisco is the only universal healthcare plan for all undocumented residents in America. Very proud of that,” Newsom added, “And we proved it can be done without bankrupting the city.”

Newsom said the effort needs to be led by the “governor’s office” not the state legislature.

“The executive needs to lead it,” said Newsom.

The bigger picture: State-based single payer is an idea being put forward by several Democratic candidates for governor including Jared Polis in Colorado and Ben Jealous in Maryland, in addition to Newsom in California.

Word of caution: Vermont, home state to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tried to set up a state-based single-payer system, but the Democratic governor called off the effort in 2014 due to problems with paying for the idea.

Read more here.


Health insurers tout study on costs of Health Insurance Tax.

Health insurers are renewing their drumbeat on delaying ObamaCare’s Health Insurance Tax, which Congress lifted for 2019 but is set to go back into effect in 2020. They point to a new study from actuaries at Oliver Wyman. The study projects that the tax will increase premiums by 2.2 percent in 2020.

Read the study here.


CDC: 2017 set record for cases of sexually transmitted diseases.

The number of cases involving sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the U.S. hit a new high in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were diagnosed in 2017, surpassing the 2016 record by 200,000.

It marks the fourth consecutive year of sharp increases in STDs, the CDC said.

Read more here.


Judge tosses Nebraska lawsuit targeting Medicaid expansion ballot initiative

We wrote last week that the Medicaid expansion ballot question was certified for November’s ballot, pending the outcome of a lawsuit. A judge dismissed that lawsuit Tuesday, meaning voters will get to decide in November whether they want to expand Medicaid.

Read more about that here in the Omaha World-Herald.


What we’re reading

Susan Collins doesn’t believe GOP pre-existing conditions bill goes far enough (Washington Examiner)

Republicans claimed Medicaid made the opioid epidemic worse. A new study proves them wrong. (Vox.com)

How the opioid crackdown is backfiring (Politico)


State by state

Thousands plead with the feds to stop Bevin’s Medicaid overhaul in Kentucky (Louisville Courier-Journal)

Tennessee push to punish Planned Parenthood would cut Medicaid funding to other health providers (Nashville Public Radio)


The Hill event 

Join us Wednesday, Sept. 12 for “A Healthy Start: Infant and Early Childhood Nutrition,” featuring Reps. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.), and Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service Brandon Lipps. Editor in Chief Bob Cusack will sit down with the headliners to discuss maternal, infant, and early childhood nutrition, and what steps can be taken to establish healthier eating patterns across all communities. RSVP Here.

Tags Bernie Sanders Bobby Scott Charles Schumer Jared Polis Joe Manchin Lamar Alexander Mitch McConnell Patty Murray Susan Collins

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