policy and politics

Congress Tackles The Opioid Epidemic, But How Much Will It Help?

Mar 19, 2018
Brad Dozier / Flickr

The nation’s opioid epidemic has been called today’s version of the 1980s AIDS crisis.

In a speech Monday, President Donald Trump pushed for a tougher federal response, emphasizing a tough-on-crime approach for drug dealers and more funding for treatment.

Weighing The Legal Odds Of The Latest ACA Challenge

Mar 5, 2018
Pete Souza / wikimedia commons

Indiana’s Attorney General Curtis Hill has joined 19 other states in a legal challenge against the Affordable Care Act. Experts say some parts of the argument may be more legally effective than others.


Sarah Fentem / Side Effects Public Media

With federal spending on Medicaid experiments soaring in recent years, a congressional watchdog said state and federal governments fail to adequately evaluate if the efforts improve care and save money.

Repeal Obamacare / https://www.flickr.com/photos/nobamanomas/

Indiana’s Attorney General Curtis Hill is one of 20 state officials lobbing a new attack at the Affordable Care Act.

If successful, the lawsuit could mean the end of federal support for Indiana’s Medicaid expansion, which is funded through the Affordable Care Act.

Matthew Hatcher / for Side Effects Public Media

On a Saturday afternoon at the downtown Columbus, Ohio courthouse, close to 20 men sat in a conference room; arms crossed, eyes staring blankly ahead, listening to a lecture. One white-haired man with glasses and hearing aids yelled for the presenter to speak up.


Sarah Fentem / Side Effects Public Media

Indiana’s Medicaid program got an update on Feb. 2 when the federal government approved a new version of the Healthy Indiana Plan.

The new changes became effective Feb. 1.

Andrew Villegas/WFYI

Across the country, states desperate to prevent opioid addiction are considering medical cannabis as a solution.

Citing the opioid crisis, lawmakers in several states are looking to initiate or expand their medical marijuana programs including KentuckyNew YorkNew Jersey and Indiana. And in Illinois, where opioids have claimed nearly 11,000 lives over the past decade, the legislature is considering a measure that would allow patients with an opioid prescription to get access to marijuana instead.


Steve Pivnick / US Air Force

Indiana Medicaid will now cover residential treatment, detoxification and peer recovery services. The federal government approved the expanded coverage earlier this month as part of the Healthy Indiana Plan’s Medicaid waiver extension.

Sarah Fentem / Side Effects Public Media

Members who fail to renew coverage under Indiana’s Medicaid program will be subject to a six-month suspension period. That’s despite previous notice in 2016 from the federal government that the state can’t enforce such lockouts.

Indiana is now the second state that will make people work in order to receive Medicaid benefits.

Indiana’s Medicaid program, known as the Healthy Indiana Plan, is approved by the federal government under a special waiver. That waiver allows the state to experiment with different ways to offer insurance coverage.


Elliot Englert / for Side Effects Public Media

As the Trump administration moves to give states more flexibility in running Medicaid, advocates for the poor are keeping a close eye on Indiana to see whether such conservative ideas improve or harm care.

Sarah Fentem / Side Effects Public Media

The federal government has granted a one-month extension to Indiana’s Medicaid program, known as the Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP 2.0, which was set to expire this month.

This buys time for the state and federal government to finalize details of how the program works, according to a press release from Gov. Eric Holcomb's office. 

Jacob Sippel / US Navy

After letting funding lapse for 114 days, the United States has reached an agreement for funding CHIP, the federally-run health insurance program for children and pregnant mothers.

Bjoertvedt / Wikimedia Commons

A government shutdown would have far-reaching effects for public health, including the nation’s response to the current, difficult flu season. It could also disrupt some federally supported health services, experts said Friday.

Updated at 12:39 p.m. ET

Health care workers who want to refuse to treat patients because of religious or moral beliefs will have a new defender in the Trump administration.

The top civil rights official at the Department of Health and Human Services is creating the Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom to protect doctors, nurses and other health care workers who refuse to take part in procedures like abortion or treat certain people because of moral or religious objections.

PIXABAY

A potential law before the Indiana Senate would require written parental consent for sexual education in schools.

Critics say the bill would limit student access to evidence-based programming.

calvinnivlac / Flickr

The Senate Health and Provider Services Committee on Wednesday threw its support behind a bill that would require Indiana physicians to check the state prescription database — called INSPECT— before prescribing powerful drugs, including opioids. 


J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

On Friday, Kentucky became the first state with federal approval to implement a so-called work requirement for Medicaid recipients. The commonwealth is one of ten states, including Indiana, that have requested approval from the federal government for such a provision.


Recent scientific reviews have found substantial evidence that marijuana can be useful in easing at least some types of chronic pain. Yet even for the majority of Americans who live in states that have legalized medical marijuana, choosing opioids can be much cheaper.

Experts Question New Green Light On Medicaid Work Requirement

Jan 11, 2018

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced it will support state policies that require people to work for their Medicaid coverage. Ten states —including Indiana and Kentucky — have submitted proposals to add a so-called work requirement to their Medicaid plans.

Sarah Fentem / Side Effects Public Media

This year’s enrollment on the federal healthcare marketplace dipped just slightly in Indiana, despite a shortened sign-up period and a drop in federal navigator funding.


Trump Administration Rule Paves Way For Association Health Plans

Jan 5, 2018
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The Department of Labor on Thursday released proposed new rules that proponents say will make it easier for businesses to band together in “associations” to buy health insurance.

The bill passed by Congress late Thursday to keep most of the federal government funded for another month also provided a temporary reprieve to a number of health programs in danger of running out of money, most notably the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.

Indiana Child Services Director Resigns With Scathing Letter To Governor

Dec 20, 2017

Indiana Department of Child Services Director Mary Beth Bonaventura says the lives of Hoosier children has been put at risk because of steps taken by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration.

When Monica Spalding got the renewal letter from her health insurance company with premium details for the upcoming year, she couldn’t believe her eyes. The insurer estimated that the share of the monthly premium that she and her husband would owe for their marketplace silver plan would go up from the current $28 a month to $545.

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