What We're Reading: Maine Judge Issues Medicaid Order; NIH on Immunotherapy; Insurers Cite ACA Changes for Rate Hikes

A state judge in Maine ordered Goveror Paul LePage’s administration to stop stalling and implement a Medicaid expansion; the National Institutes of Health reported on a treatment that eradicated cancer from a patient who had untreatable, advanced breast cancer; citing changes to the Affordable Care Act, insurers are proposing double-digit rate hikes for 2019.

Maine Judge Orders Governor to Implement Medicaid Expansion

A state judge in Maine ordered Governor Paul LePage’s administration to stop stalling and implement Medicaid expansion, which passed through public referendum, The New York Times reported. Medicaid expansion advocates sued the LePage administration in April after it failed to submit a plan to the federal government. LePage, a Republican, has said the state doesn’t have the money to pay for it. In her ruling, Justice Michaela Murphy ordered the LePage administration to update the terms of its Medicaid program by June 11 and to provide coverage to the newly eligible beneficiaries by July 2.

Immunotherapy Erases Advanced Breast Cancer From Patient, NIH Reports

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported on a treatment that eradicated cancer from a patient who had untreatable, advanced breast cancer. But NPR said the immunotherapy treatment, which helped 7 of 45 patients, is not yet ready for widespread use. The NIH doctors sequenced the genomes of tumors to find mutations, then tested immune cells extracted from the cancers to identify which ones might recognize the defects. Those cells were expanded by the billions in the lab, creating immune system cells known as T cells that fought those mutations.

New York, Washington Insurers Ask for Rate Hikes in Double Digits, Citing ACA Changes

Citing recent and upcoming changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurers in New York and Washington state are proposing double-digit rate hikes for 2019. The Hill reported that 14 New York insurers are asking state regulators to approve an average rate hike of 24%, while 11 insurers in Washington want to raise premiums by an average of 19.08%. New York attributed the proposed increases to Congress's repeal of the individual mandate. Washington state blamed uncertainty over the Trump administration's proposed ACA changes.