What We're Reading: Work Requirements for Medicaid Users; Immigrant Fee Waiver Claims; Cannabis Linked to Premature Birth

October 28, 2019

States move to encourage work for Medicaid; the Trump administration imposes restrictions on immigrants using reciept of government benefits when applying for citizenship; FDA advises against cannabis use for pregnant women.

Pennsylvania Health Officials Impose Gentler Work Requirements for Medicaid Recipients

Pennsylvania health officials devised a gentler approach to getting Medicaid beneficiaries into jobs, amid pressure from its Republican-based legislature to require recipients to work as a condition of coverage, according to Kaiser Health News. Beginning early next year, the Medicaid agency under Democratic Governor Tom Wolf will ask citizens when they enroll if they want job training assistance. This will then require its private Medicaid managed-care organizations to connect those who want help to local employment specialists and follow up to ensure they obtained it. The state, like others trying a similar approach, thinks the strategy will get better results than strict work requirements.

Trump Administration Restricts Fee Waiver Claims by Immigrants

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a new policy change that says immigrants applying for citizenship or other legal status will no longer be able to use receipt of government benefits as a condition to seek a waiver of an application fee, according to The Wall Street Journal. The move comes amid another immigration restriction imposed by the Trump administration that seeks to stop entry or green cards for many legal immigrants who have used Medicaid, food stamps, or housing assistance, or are thought likely to in the future; that action is temporarily blocked by several courts. In addition, the administration is requiring most legal immigrants to demonstrate that they have health insurance.

FDA Cautions Against Cannabis Use for Pregnant Women

The FDA strongly advised women not to use cannabis in any form, including CBD, when pregnant or breastfeeding as it may pose serious risks such as premature birth, according to NPR. In the article, women reported using cannabis products to curb issues of food aversion and intense nausea that are synonymous with morning sickness and other pregnancy-related symptoms. However, the FDA points to research showing that THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, crosses the placenta and can affect fetal brain development, with additional evidence showing its influence on breast milk.