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An opioid epidemic. High smoking rates. Health care provider shortages. Indiana faces serious public health challenges. Side Effects Public Media provides in-depth coverage of these issues and more.

From The Hill To Here - Catch Up On This Month's Biggest Hoosier Health News

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May's headliner health news was undoubtedly the House's belabored passing of the GOP "repeal and replace" health insurance bill, dubbed the American Health Care Act. What could the bill's progress mean for health coverage here in Indiana? In other state news: A hospital merger in Gary could limit reproductive options and the state quietly announced a proposed work requirement for HIP 2.0 for Hoosiers' consideration.

Statehouse Watch

Should Indiana Medicaid Members Have To Work To Keep Their Coverage? Indiana has released a proposal to add a work requirement to its Medicaid program for low-income residents, the Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP 2.0. After gathering public comment, Indiana is planning to submit the proposal to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. If approved, the plan requires HIP members to put in time each week working, job hunting, job training or studying—or risk having their health care suspended. Jake Harper has the latest news. (Side Effects)

Task Force Drug Abuse Plan A Guide...But Not A Solution Indiana's newly-dubbed Commission to Combat Drug Abuse (formerly known as the Governor's Drug Task Force) outlined a new action plan to fight opioid epidemic at its latest meeting. As the Star's Shari Rudavsky writes, "if reversing the opioid epidemic were easy, at least one state would have done it by now." Indiana's plan calls for increased naloxone distribution and facilitating access to treatment. However, the document didn't reveal any new revenue streams to fund the state's efforts. (Indianapolis Star)

From the Hill to Here

AHCA's Proposed Cuts to Medicaid Have Rural Hospitals Worried The American Health Care Act would gradually phase out Medicaid expansion money, which is what funded the state's health plan HIP 2.0. Indiana's hospitals largely rallied around in support of HIP, and now some are worried the cuts could have deleterious effects on rural clinics, which are disproportionately supported by Medicaid funds. (Times of Northwest Indiana)

Does a CBO Score Matter To Indiana Lawmakers? It Depends. As we've reported, the GOP's AHCA legislation has lots of groups worried, both in Indiana and beyond. Mid-month, the Congressional Budget Office issued a "report card" outlining the bill's effects on the budget and coverage. As Jill Sheridan finds, some lawmakers take it more seriously than others. (Indiana Public Broadcasting)

Under the Radar

Weak Prevention Laws Aren't Helping Indiana's Dismal Hepatitis C Rate Yes, the state has legalized syringe exchanges, but as Emily Forman of Side Effects reports, that's only the first step to help cut down on drug-related rates of Hepatitis C. (Side Effects)

So We Meet Again: Indiana, Planned Parenthood Face Off Over Abortion Privacy Law  Currently in the state, an underage girl can go to court to get for an abortion. A new Indiana law would allow a judge to disclose that request to the girl's parents. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU are challenging the law in federal court. (Indiana Public Broadcasting)

What Happens When The Only Care In Town Is Religiously Affiliated? ReWire drops into Gary to report on a potential merger between Franciscan Health and Methodist Hospital. Methodist has said it would implement health care guided by Catholic principles. Would it limit reproductive health options? (ReWire)

Bright Spots

When Your Health Insurer Pays For Your Life Coach Medicaid providers have begun to provide some unique benefits to their customers benefits that have more to do with success in life than health care. This month, Drew Daudelin introduces us to Jessie, the Medicaid Life Coach. (Side Effects)

This Is Juicy

Moving On Up? Indiana Medicaid Director Joe Moser has announced he's stepping down to "pursue new opportunities." He tells Modern Healthcare he has no current plans to work in D.C., but speculation abounds whether he'll follow Pence administration alum Seema Verma to Washington. (Modern Healthcare)

"Welcome to Washington, Ms. Verma." Speaking of Seema Verma, CMS is denying reports the Hoosier expat and Medicaid boss engaged in some political bartering with insurance companies regarding support for an Obamacare repeal. (Indianapolis Star)