What We're Reading: Hurricane Harvey Health Issues; Funding CHIP; Controversial ACA Fixes

Health Fallout from Hurricane Harvey

The dangers from the floodwaters in Texas left by Hurricane Harvey can have long-term impacts. According to The Washington Post, since the floodwater contains overflowing sewage systems, there is a danger of infectious diseases. People can be exposed to MRSA and tetanus, and those in disaster zones are often unable to maintain food hygiene. People who flee flood zones also have trouble accessing their medications, which can be troubling for people with chronic diseases. In the long run, residents often experience increased mental health issues.

Funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) usually has broad bipartisan support, but as federal funding ends on September 30, trouble passing healthcare legislation in Congress could impact a reauthorization of the program. Lawmakers are considering using the CHIP bill to repeal some Affordable Care Act (ACA) taxes or to extend payments to insurers under the health law, according to The Wall Street Journal. However, such moves could endanger efforts to pass a CHIP reauthorization bill.

Controversial Proposals to Fix the ACA

With efforts to repeal and replace the ACA in limbo, lawmakers are starting to look outside the box for ways to stabilize the individual insurance market. Kaiser Health News outlined 5 proposals that are generating more interest, but had once been considered too controversial, for instance, allowing people to buy into Medicaid or lowering the eligibility age for Medicare to 55 years. One idea that might be tougher for the public to swallow is rolling back the ACA provision to let children stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. This is a popular provision, but it means young, healthy people stay out of the individual market, leaving more people who are older and sicker for insurers to cover.