“Reducing some of the costly regulatory challenges we face would help staunch the bloodletting,” said Leslie Marsh, CEO of Lexington Regional Health Center.
Back in May, I posted a link to a Health Affairs blog article, Social Determinants Of Health: A Public Health Concept In Conflict in which it was reported that the current regime was seeking to impose work requirements for people on Medicaid.
As reported then, and on Monday in a follow-up article, CMS approved the first waiver to implement a work requirement for Medicaid beneficiaries in Kentucky on January 12th.
The article stated that a couple of weeks ago, a district court found the approval of these work requirements to be “arbitrary and capricious”, and in direct violation of the Administrative Procedures Act of 1996.
According to the article, CMS failed to consider whether the waiver’s estimated removal of 95,000 Kentuckians was in line with the program’s goals of furnishing medical assistance, and the judge ordered the waiver to be returned to CMS.
It was the government’s argument, the article states, that new research into the social determinants of health demonstrate that income and employment are associated with improved health, and so a work requirement thereby fits within the goals of the program.
The case in Kentucky hinged on the fact that work requirements worsened financial assistance, which the judge pointed out is a main tenet of the program.
The author then writes that if CMS wants to use research within the social determinants of health, then he will analyze Medicaid work requirements through this lens. A recent post in Health Affairs focused on the perversion of social determinants of health as a concept, and the current post builds off that one, to demonstrate that this regime’s justification for Medicaid work requirements is misguided at best.
To illustrate this, he follows a theoretical low-income worker, a 50-year-old from Louisville, who could no longer work in his job as a longshoreman due to cardiovascular disease and suffered chest pain whenever he exerted himself. He is uninsured, has a wife and three adult children. And is also trying to find a job.
The author continues by examining the following issues: Unemployment and Health, Medicaid Improves Health, Medicaid Work Requirements Harm Those With Jobs, and concludes by stating that Medicaid Work Requirements Worsen Health.
The theoretical case of the 50-year-old longshoreman is not so theoretical, as each of the 16 Kentucky plaintiffs in the case demonstrated. One is a graduating student with endometriosis, another is a mother of four with congenital hip dysplasia, and another is a partly blind mortician (no jokes, please) with chronic lung disease. All would have risked losing their coverage as a result of work requirements.
And to make the case more clearly, your humble blogger, while not currently on Medicaid, but eventually will be, has end-stage renal disease, and does peritoneal dialysis every night at home, and goes to the clinic twice a month for blood work and to see the nephrologist. In addition, every two weeks on a Monday, as will happen this coming Monday, I have to be home to receive my supplies, and this Friday must call in another order. Working a full-time job, if one were available that matched my experience, would prevent me from doing so.
This is another reason why our health care system is broken and needs to be replaced by a single payer system that does not separate out older beneficiaries, as Medicare does, poorer ones as Medicaid does, and children and military personnel, as the other programs do.
One system for all Americans.
Follow-up to the last post and yesterday’s regarding CMS’ initiative for quality reporting.
See the link:
The report also found physicians are moving more toward independent and physician-led group practices after a six-year trend of doctors moving to hospitals.
As readers of this blog have noticed in the past, I have been very critical of CMS’ introduction of myriads of models, programs, and schemes to improve quality reporting and physician performance, so it is no surprise that I look upon this new initiative with a bit of skepticism. But I’ll let you the reader decide if this is just another wasted effort by CMS or if it has a chance to actually work this time. After all, after forty years of tinkering, the American health care system is no better off than it was before CMS got involved.
One of the quality networks CMS wants to roll into a single contract concerns something your humble writer is going through, ESRD.
Here’s the article:
Quality Improvement Networks and Organizations, End Stage Renal Disease Networks and Hospital Improvement Innovation Networks are all being bundled into a single $25 billion contract.
Shoutout to Promed Costa Rica for the following article posted today on Facebook.
CMS has been for decades the crux of the problem with the American health care system, Every model, program and scheme they have implemented addresses only the symptoms, but not the cause of the disease the patient is suffering from.
As I wrote yesterday, and the week before in my review of Health Care under the Knife, the real cause of the complexity, confusion, dysfunction and overall failures of the health care system is the system itself — meaning the economic system that has proletarianized physicians, commodified, corporatized, financialized, and monopolized health care in this country.
So now, this talk of price transparency, when the cost of care is already too high compared to other Western nations, is just a placebo being administered to a dying patient — the American health care system.
Remember these words:
“America’s health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.”
The following article sheds light on the revolving door at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the so-called Trump Administration, or should I say criminal regime.
It seems that corporate executives from various health care companies have been appointed to several positions within HHS, only to leave unexpectedly.
Case in point, John Bardis, an executive formerly with MedAssets, became Assistant Secretary of HHS for Administration and resigned under fire. He was the CEO of a health care financial firm, and had experience running other health care related companies; nevertheless, he had no direct experience in health care or public health.
Another example of the revolving door concerns Daniel Best, former Corporate Vice President of Industry Relations at CVS Health, and Pfizer before that, to Senior Adviser to the Secretary of DHHS for Drug Pricing Reform. REALLY!?
Adam Boehler, CEO of Landmark Health, and previous founder of Avalon Healthcare Solutions and Trellis Rx, and Operating Partner of Private Equity company Francisco Partners, was appointed to Director of Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center (CMMI).
Dr. William Staley, from McKinsey Consultant to Coordinator of US Government Activities to Combat Malaria. He is a doctor, and his bio on the State Department website lists his prior positions at State.
This is what draining the swamp looks like. This is not how government should be run. This is how corporate America gets its grubby hands on the health care system for the profit of a few.
Here is the link to the full article.