What We're Reading: States Ponder Medicaid Buy In; Antivaccine Backlash; 9/11 Responders Lobby for Funds

February 26, 2019

New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Minnesota are among states looking at “Medicaid buy-in” proposals as a way to offer more affordable healthcare options; the return of measles is creating a backlash against critics of vaccines; first responders who worked during and after the 9/11 terror attacks and their advocates urged Congress to ensure that the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund does not run out of money.

More States Thinking About Allowing Residents to Buy Into Medicaid

New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Minnesota are among states looking at “Medicaid buy-in” proposals as a way to offer more affordable healthcare options, Kaiser Health News reported. A report commissioned by New Mexico projected that up to 16,000 people would enroll in such a program, and their premiums would be 15% to 28% lower than plans sold on the individual market.

States Move to Tighten Exemptions From Childhood Vaccines

The return of measles is creating a backlash against critics of vaccines, The Washington Post reported. Washington state is moving forward with 2 measures that would bar parents from using personal or philosophical exemptions to avoid immunizing their school-aged children; in Washington, the worst measles outbreak in more than 2 decades has sickened nearly 70 people and cost over $1 million. Similar efforts are building in Arizona, Iowa, and Minnesota, as well as Vermont and New Jersey.

9/11 First Responders Plead for Healthcare Funding

First responders who worked during and after the 9/11 terror attacks and their advocates urged Congress to ensure that the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund does not run out of money, the Associated Press reported. Joined by comedian Jon Stewart, members of the New York delegation and the advocates blasted an announcement by the Justice Department that the fund is running out and future payments may be cut by up to 70%. Fund officials estimate that it would take another $5 billion to pay pending claims and claims that officials anticipate will be submitted before the fund’s December 2020 deadline. Many responders have seen their health decline, some with respiratory or digestive system ailments that appeared almost immediately and others with illnesses that developed as they aged, including cancer.