What We're Reading: More Kids Are Uninsured; CVS–Aetna Deal Closes; Mental Health Treatment in Prison

November 29, 2018

For the first time in a decade, the number of children without health insurance rose; CVS Health has officially acquired Aetna after New York and New Jersey provided the last 2 state approvals necessary for the merger to occur; although the Federal Bureau of Prisons has imposed a policy to provide better care and oversight for inmates with mental health issues, a new report has found that treatment has not been expanded.

Uninsured Rate for Kids Rose

For the first time in a decade, the number of children without health insurance rose, climbing from 4.7% in 2017 to 5%. According to Kaiser Health News, the jump is striking since the uninsured rate tends to remain stable or drop during times of economic growth, and the US unemployment rate is at its lowest level since 1969. Child health advocates point to recent policy changes by the Trump administration and the Republican-led Congress. While the proportion of children with employer-sponsored coverage rose slightly, more children dropped coverage through Medicaid or Affordable Care Act plans.

CVS and Aetna Make It Official

CVS Health has officially acquired Aetna after New York and New Jersey provided the last 2 state approvals necessary for the merger to occur. The Department of Justice gave preliminary approval for the deal to take place once Aetna had divested its Medicare Part D plan business to WellCare Health Plans, reported Forbes. The divestiture is expected to be finalized within a few business days. The full review process for the deal lasted nearly a year.

Failure of Mental Health Treatment in Federal Prisons

Although the Federal Bureau of Prisons has imposed a policy to provide better care and oversight for inmates with mental health issues, a new report has found that treatment has not been expanded. Only 3% of inmates in federal prisons were classified as having mental illnesses serious enough for regular treatment, which is far below the rate in state prisons, according to The Washington Post. Compared with the federal prison rate, 30% of inmates in California state prisons, 21% in New York, and 20% in Texas are receiving care for mental health disorders. Since the new policy took effect, mental health staffing at federal prisons has not increased.