What We're Reading: Trade War Impact on Opioid Fight; Ark. Medicaid Enrollees' Deadline; EPA Sits on Health Report

July 6, 2018

President Donald Trump’s trade war with China could mean an end to cooperation with the United States to stop the flow of synthetic opioids like fentanyl; Medicaid beneficiaries in Arkansas had until Thursday night to log onto computers to report their work activities or exemption status for the month in order for them to maintain health insurance; a report claims that the Trump administration is suppressing an Environmental Protection Agency draft health assessment that warns most Americans inhale enough formaldehyde vapor to put them at risk of developing leukemia and other illnesses.

Efforts to Keep Synthetic Opioids Out of United States Could Become China Trade War Casualty

President Donald Trump’s trade war with China could mean an end to cooperation with the United States to stop the flow of synthetic opioids like fentanyl, experts told Kaiser Health News. While China has denied that the drugs originate in its country, in the past it has cooperated with US effforts to control the flow of illegal drugs coming into America. With tariffs taking effect Friday, that cooperation could end. Fentanyl is up to 50 times more potent than heroin and can be 100 times more potent than morphine.

Most Medicaid Beneficiaries With Work Requirements Struggle to Meet Arkansas Deadline

Medicaid beneficiaries in Arkansas had until Thursday night to log onto computers to report their work activities or exemption status for the month in order for them to maintain health insurance, the Arkansas Democrat and Gazette reported. But, as of late last week, more than 8000 of the 11,000 enrollees had not yet complied with the requirement. The executive director of one nonprofit said many enrollees do not understand what they need to do despite outreach efforts. Enrollees who fail to meet the requirement for 3 months during a year are terminated from the program for the rest of the year.

Trump Administration Sitting on EPA Report About Formaldehyde Health Risks

The Trump administration is suppressing an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) draft health assessment that warns most Americans inhale enough formaldehyde vapor to put them at risk of developing leukemia and other illnesses, Politico reported. Scientists completed the report right before Trump became president. In a statement, the EPA denied that the assessment was being held back. Politico said Andrew Wheeler, who will replace the scandal-plagued Scott Pruitt as the EPA administrator, was once staff director for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee during a time when his boss, then-Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, sought to delay an earlier version of the formaldehyde assessment.