What We're Reading: CMS Denies Ohio's Medicaid Fee Proposal

What we're reading, September 14, 2016: CMS denies Ohio's proposal to charge Medicaid fees; steep costs of healthcare continue to push Americans into poverty; and Canada approves prescription heroin to treat severe addiction.

CMS has denied Ohio’s proposal to charge new Medicaid fees and impose penalties on those who miss payments. According to The Columbus Dispatch, the federal government estimated that Ohio’s proposed policies would result in more than 125,000 people losing coverage each year. In addition, the state was looking to exclude people from coverage until they pay all arrears, which is something CMS has not approved in any state. Governor John Kasich’s administration projected that taxpayers would save nearly $1 billion under the proposed changes.

There has been some recent good news for Americans: household income is up, while the number of people living in poverty and without health insurance both continue fell. However, CBS News reported that steep costs of healthcare continue to push Americans into poverty. Under a new measure being reported by the Census Bureau, medical expenses have increased the number of people living in poverty by 11.2 million, or 3.5%. Since the Census Bureau started reporting this measure in 2010, it hasn’t changed much even with more and more Americans gaining health coverage.

As America grapples with its opioid epidemic, with heroin-related deaths more than tripling between 2010 and 2014, Canada has taken a unique step to help treat addicts. The Canadian government has approved prescription heroin so doctors can treat severe addicts who have not responded to conventional approaches, reported The Washington Post. A clinic is Vancouver is currently the only program in Canada and the United States to provide this approach, but 8 European countries are already doing something similar.