The approaches vary from state to state, but the new year is bringing renewed efforts to broaden access to dental services to millions of Americans who have long lacked care.
In many places, the need is particularly acute among poor adults. Across America, roughly 38 million of them rely upon Medicaid for a broad range of health care benefits. But while children are entitled to dental care under Medicaid, adult dental benefits are considered an optional part of the program. Continue reading
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert
No sooner had we posted an update on the prospects for Medicaid expansion in several states, including the three that passed ballot initiatives in November, than news came of obstacles emerging in Utah.
The state legislature may take one or more of these actions: delay the April start; cover fewer people; add work requirements or other conditions. Continue reading
The Commonwealth Fund’s Sara R. Collins, Ph.D., vice president for health care coverage and access, walked us through the prospects for Medicaid expansion and the ongoing controversy over work requirements in a recent webcast for AHCJ members. (The recorded webcast and her slides are here.)
Collins noted that the November midterm election changed the odds of expansion in at least six states – the three that approved ballot initiatives on expansion (Utah, Nebraska and Idaho) and three that elected pro-expansion Democratic governors to succeed Republicans (Kansas, Wisconsin and Maine.) Continue reading
In recent coverage of a free dental care day for low-income Mainers, Portland Press Herald reporter Joe Lawlor explored some of the challenges that have shaped oral health access in the state.
As he noted in his piece, new Democratic governor Janet Mills is preparing to oversee an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program.
Benjamin Hardy, a reporter with the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network and a 2018 AHCJ Health Care Performance Reporting Fellow, has just written a How I Did It essay on his coverage of Medicaid work requirements in Arkansas.
While seven states have received CMS approval of work requirements, Arkansas is the first to put them in effect. The rest are either being challenged in court, or in the implementation phase – or in question as a Democratic governor succeeds a Republican one. Several more states – eight, by my latest count – have requests pending before CMS and that number could grow. Continue reading
When it comes to health care disparities and cardiovascular disease (CVD), the divide widens early. A spate of studies published recently illustrates how social factors influence CVD outcomes from our earliest years.
For example, a report published in Pediatrics found that the increased obesity prevalence among U.S. adolescents is happening almost entirely among those in low- and middle-income families. Smoking, diet quality, and physical activity levels also tracked with household socioeconomic status for these children, based on the NHANES data used in the study. The only equal-opportunity metabolic derailment among teens in the United States appears to be prediabetes and diabetes. Risk factors for CVD overall declined for adolescents from 1999 to 2014, but significantly so only for those from high-income households. Continue reading