News and updates about Medicaid.

Now that the federal health law forbids denial of insurance for pre-existing condition, some people have wondered if they can wait until they get sick to buy health coverage.

Federal Officials Order Medicaid To Cover Autism Services

Aug 27, 2014

When Yuri Maldonado's 6-year-old son was diagnosed with autism four years ago, she learned that getting him the therapy he needed from California's Medicaid plan for low-income children was going to be tough.

A woman is about to give birth. It will be her second child, and she's not looking to have a third anytime soon. She doesn't want to take birth control pills while she's breast-feeding. And condoms aren't as error-proof as she'd like.

There are a couple of alternatives that are safe, effective and could work for years: an IUD or an implant. She'll need a doctor to get those.

If all goes according to plan, next year many Arkansas Medicaid beneficiaries will be required to make monthly contributions to so-called Health Independence Accounts. Those who don't may have to pay more of the cost of their medical services, and in some cases may be refused services.

Supporters say it will help nudge Medicaid beneficiaries toward becoming more cost-conscious health care consumers. Patient advocates are skeptical, pointing to studies showing that such financial "skin-in-the-game" requirements discourage low-income people from getting care that they need.

The Hope Clinic in southwest Houston is in the very heart of Asia Town, a part of the city where bland strip malls hide culinary treasures — Vietnamese pho, Malaysian noodles, Sichuan rabbit and bubble tea.

Inside the clinic, internist Charu Sawhney sees patients from many countries and circumstances. She's a big believer in the Affordable Care Act since most of her patients have been uninsured. She actively pushed many of them to sign up for the new plans.

A few years ago, Illinois' Medicaid program for the poor noticed some odd trends in its billings for group psychotherapy sessions.

Nursing home residents were being taken several times a week to off-site locations, and Medicaid was picking up the tab for both the services and the transportation.

And then there was this: The sessions were often being performed by obstetrician-gynecologists, oncologists and urologists — "people who didn't have any training really in psychiatry," Illinois Medicaid director Theresa Eagleson recalled.

Inmate Health Care—Changed By ACA, And How It Affects Society

Jul 12, 2014
Luigi Caterino/

A side effect of the Affordable Care Act has been a trend of jails and prisons signing up inmates for Medicaid, according to a recent New York Times article. Scott Allen, M.D., co-director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights at Brown University, speaks about why those who become incarcerated tend to have higher risks of certain physical and mental health problems, why society should care about the health of those in prison and more. 

A San Francisco law now permits the sheriff's department to enroll inmates in health insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act — policies designed to cover medical care after a prisoner's release. Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi believes that making sure people have health coverage when they leave jail will help keep them from committing another crime and coming back.

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Sound Medicine’s health policy expert, Aaron Carroll, M.D., M.S., discusses the pros and cons of the upcoming Medicaid expansion. Last June the Supreme Court ruled that state’s participation is Medicaid expansion is optional, but if they choose not to participate they will lose all federal funding for the uninsured. So what does Medicaid expansion entail? According to Dr. Carroll, Medicaid will transition from being a program that covers only poor women, children, the elderly, and disabled, to being a program that covers the majority of people that fall under the poverty line. Most states have decided to accept Medicaid expansion to fund their costs of caring for the poor, but there are a few states that have not decided. Dr. Carroll is an associate professor of pediatrics and the associate director of Children’s Health Services Research at Indiana University School of Medicine. He is also the director of the Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research.

Sound Medicine: June 23, 2013

Jun 23, 2013

The “Sound Medicine” program for June 23