What We're Reading: Medical Marijuana Ban Challenge; Medicaid for All; VA's Budget Shortfall


Kentucky’s Medical Marijuana Ban Gets Challenged

A lawsuit is challenging Kentucky’s criminal ban against medical marijuana. The lawsuit claims that medical marijuana is a viable alternative to ease health problems, including opioid addiction, and that the ban violates privacy protections. With Kentucky struggling with the country’s third-highest death rate from opioid overdoses, medical marijuana could provide a solution and reduce hospital admissions. More than half the country (29 states and the District of Columbia) allows medical use of marijuana.

Nevada on Cusp of Offering Medicaid for All

If Nevada’s Republican governor does not act by Friday, a bill that passed the state legislature allowing everyone to buy into Medicaid would become law. According to NPR, if the bill becomes law, it will be the first of its kind. The bill allows anyone to buy into Medicaid, which state lawmakers expect will result in cheaper health insurance options for Nevadans. The bill’s sponsor estimates that 300,000 Nevadans may enroll if Medicaid expansion is rolled back under a Republican healthcare reform bill at the federal level.

VA Is Facing a Surprise Budget Gap

A program that allows veterans to access private-sector care is running out of money sooner than expected. According to the AP, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has requested that it be allowed to fill the gap by shifting money from other programs. The VA secretary attributed the shortfall to increased demand from veterans—initially the VA thought the funding for the program would last through the end of 2017. To slow spending for the program, the VA told medical centers to limit the number of veterans sent to private doctors.

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