What We're Reading: Ky. Medicaid Court Case to Start; Mediterranean Diet Questioned; Charity Care in Calif. Falls

The Trump administration and advocacy groups meet in federal court Friday over whether the HHS secretary has the authority to allow Kentucky to set a work requirement and other conditions on people receiving Medicaid; the New England Journal of Medicine retracted a notable paper about the benefits of following a Mediterranean diet and replaced it with one with softer language; California’s nonprofit hospitals are providing significantly less free and reduced-cost medical care, a union report says.

Federal Court Case to Begin Over Kentucky's Medicaid Work Requirements

The Trump administration and advocacy groups meet in federal court Friday over whether the HHS secretary has the legal authority to allow Kentucky to establish a work requirement and other conditions on people receiving Medicaid, Modern Healthcare reported. The case was filed in January by the National Health Law Program, the Kentucky Equal Justice Center, and the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of 16 beneficiaries. The groups are suing to block the state's Medicaid waiver requiring beneficiaries to work or participate in "community engagement" activities, such as job training, school, or volunteering.

Journal Backs Off Claims About Mediterranean Diet Benefits

The New England Journal of Medicine retracted a notable paper about the benefits of following a Mediterranean diet and replaced it with one with softer language that says only that people following the diet had fewer strokes and heart attacks, NPR reported. The original paper claimed that the diet was the direct cause of those health benefits. The New York Times reported that the issue has to do with randomization of some of the participants in the original 5-year study, which was carried out in Spain.

Charity Care by California Hospitals Falling

California’s nonprofit hospitals are providing significantly less free and reduced-cost medical care than they did a few years ago, the Los Angeles Times reported, according to figures released by the state nurses union. Hospital leaders say charity care has declined because the Affordable Care Act has provided free and reduced-cost coverage through Medicaid expansion and the Covered California marketplace. About 170 nonprofit general acute care hospitals provided $651 million of charity care in 2016, down from $985 million in 2011, according to the union, a supporter of single-payer healthcare.