The Weekly Insight – June 19

19th Jun 2017

This Week in Review

Last Week from Texas Insight

  • HHSC: Council on Consumer Direction: The purpose of the Council is to advise HHSC on the development, implementation, expansion, and delivery of services through consumer direction, in all programs offering long-term services and supports that enhance a consumer’s ability to have freedom and exercise control and authority over the consumer’s choices, regardless of age or disability.
  • Texas’ Overhaul of Child Welfare Part III – HB 4: House Bill 4, authored by House Representative Cindy Burkett, is an aspect of the child welfare overhaul that deals with financial assistance given to relative and other caregivers of children removed from their homes and placed in alternate care by the state. This bill changes the way assistance funds are provided to caregivers, and establishes penalties and criminal offenses if a prospective caregiver willfully enters into a fraudulent caregiver assistance agreement through deception, or misrepresentation of their eligibility.
  • Hospitals in Texas: This posting provides an overview of Texas hospitals, their impact in the Texas economy, challenges faced by these institutions, and policy concerns related to hospitals in the larger context of the Texas health care system, particularly as they pertain to prices and cost.


Healthcare Policy News

  • While Trump says the healthcare market is failing, insurer Centene has bet big on ObamaCare, announcing they will be expanding into three additional states for the first time, and increasing their presence in six other states.
  • According to the Trump administration’s own analysis of the American Healthcare Act (AHCA), thirteen million people could become uninsured by 2026. The analysis, completed by the chief actuary at the Department of Health and Human Services, offers a starkly different picture than the analysis of the same bill released by the Congressional Budget Office last month.

  • At a meeting with senators on Tuesday, Trump called the AHCA “mean.” Trump told the lawmakers that the House bill did not go far enough to protect individuals in the marketplace. He also appeared to use that as his rationale for why he has ambiguously called twice for Senate to “add more money” to the bill. [CNN]

  • The Michigan attorney general’s office on Wednesday charged the director of the state’s health department and four other public officials with involuntary manslaughter for their roles in the Flint water crisis. The Flint water crisis has exposed thousands of young children to potentially long-term health risks, and has also been linked to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, which has contributed to at least a dozen deaths.

  • At a hearing on Thursday, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) – the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee – called for critical payments to insurers be funded through 2019 by administrative action, legislation, or both.

  • A bipartisan group of governors are criticizing the AHCA, arguing that the bill does not appropriately protect the vulnerable, and shifts the financial burden of fluctuating healthcare markets to the states. The governors submitted a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, outlining their concerns and arguing that the current draft was insufficient to ensure adequate coverage and affordability.

  • Senate Democrats are weighing whether to bring the chamber’s business to a halt in an effort to voice their objections to the GOP healthcare push.

  • Health advocates on Friday used their first meeting of Trump’s commission on the opioid crisis to criticize a bill that would slash Medicaid and deregulate the health insurance market. Advocates are concerned that such legislation would undermine any progress the panel could make.

  • On Friday, six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS resigned. Writing in an op-ed published in Newsweek, they feel they can no longer be effective under a president “who simply does not care.”

  • In Texas, seesawing family incomes threaten children’s Medicaid coverage. Texas begins income tests five months into a child’s coverage to ensure family income has not exceeded the cut-off. These tests are repeated in the sixth, seventh and eighth month, and if the family’s income crosses the line, they have ten days to prove otherwise. This is especially burdensome for parents with seasonal jobs.

  • Texas mothers taking their new babies for checkups through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program will be able to get postpartum depression screenings and counseling under a bill Gov Greg Abbott signed Thursday. [Texas Tribune]