Report: This is what happened to the 1M kids who lost Medicaid/CHIP coverage | Monday Morning Coffee

September 9, 2019 7:11 am

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Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

The late Hubert Humphrey once famously remarked that the moral test of government is how it treats those in the dawn, the shadows and the twilight of life. The U.S. Census Bureau is expected to release data this week from its annual American Community Survey on the ranks of America’s uninsured — putting that maxim to the test.

As a new report by the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute makes clear, that data will cast some badly needed light on the number of American children who receive coverage through Medicaid/CHIP.

Nationwide, child enrollment in Medicaid/CHIP “declined by half a million children in the first 10 months of 2018. That number has now more than doubled to more than 1 million children in the 17-month period between December 2017 and May 2019,” the report indicated. “As we have analyzed the monthly data, we consistently have seen about two-thirds of states with net child enrollment losses in Medicaid/CHIP although a few states have switched from gains to losses and vice versa.” 

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According to the report, “Missouri continues to top the list of states with the highest percentage decline in child enrollment in Medicaid that has grown from 9.6 percent in calendar year 2018 to 13.1 percent in the 17-month period through May 2019,” while  “Texas continued to account for the largest decline with a drop of more than one-quarter million fewer children in that same period.”

Some other takeaways, according to the report:

  • “60 percent of children losing coverage since December 2017 live in Texas, California, Florida, Missouri, and Illinois.
  • “Eight states – Missouri, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Maine, and Colorado – have experienced percentage declines at least two times the national average of 2.8 percent over the 17-month period.
  • “Nine states that experienced losses in 2018 have seen gains – mostly modest – in 2019. These states – Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Pennsylvania and Tennessee and Georgia – still have cumulative enrollment losses over the 17-month period.
  • “Kansas and Minnesota experienced modest gains in 2018 that have reversed into cumulative losses in the 17-month period.”

State-by-state data in the report showed a modest increase in enrollment in Pennsylvania between December 2018 and May 2019, with nearly 1.4 million children enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP. That’s an increase of 7,554 children, or about 0.5 percent, the report indicated.

“A number of state and federal officials have opined that the enrollment decline is the result of a strong economy,” Tricia Brooks, a Georgetown research professor, wrote. “However, there is scant evidence of real wage growth for lower-income workers and improved access to affordable employer-based health coverage. But we’ll know for sure how the trends in enrollment correlate to changes in insurance status when the Census data on health coverage is released next week.”

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Our Stuff.
Stephen Caruso’s
 spiffy explainer on the state of play on property tax reform got all kinds of Twitter love over the weekend. If you haven’t read it yet, now’s your chance.

Caruso also has the details on one state House Republican’s efforts to block PennDOT from unilaterally offering gender-neutral drivers licenses.

On our Commentary Pageefforts to minimize opioid prescriptions after surgery appear to be paying off, a University of California expert observes. Some snarky newsletter author of your acquaintance has a few thoughts on the Trump administration’s raid on military construction funds to pay for The Wall. Opinion regular Dick Polman wonders whether Trump’s lies have lowered the bar for Joe Biden’s serial gaffes. And an Indiana University scholar says it’s officially time to stop calling homosexuality a choice — now that we know biological factors are determinative.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden rallies with supporters in Philadelphia on Saturday, 5/18/19. (Capital-Star photo by Nick Field)

Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren 
and Bernie Sanders hold steady leads in the polls. But there’s still plenty of campaign left, the Inquirer reports.
Bicyclists gathered in Pittsburgh Sunday to push for changes in state law that would make city biking safer, the Post-Gazette reports.
Changes to one of the Lehigh Valley’s major arteries could reshape the way the entire region lives, works and plays, the Morning Call reports.
state House panel will hold a hearing Tuesday on allowing Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania, PennLive reports. This is absolutely massive.

Here’s your #Harrisburg Instagram of the Day.

Two out of five Asian-Pacific families in Pennsylvania are going uncounted by the Census, WHYY-FM reports.
Fort Indiantown Gap has been added to the list of military sites with PFAS contamination, the PA Post reports.
Erie County’s second chance program for former offenders needs its own new start, an Erie Times-News columnist opines.
Opioid abuse poses an ‘existential threat’ in Cherokee Country, reports.
The U.S. Air Force has ordered an investigation of its air crews’ stays at a Trump resort in Scotland, Politico reports.
Roll Call looks at how a small group of vulnerable House incumbents got bills signed into law.

What Goes On.
Wolf administration 
officials hold an 11 a.m. newser in the Rotunda to call attention to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Month in Pa. At 1 p.m., there’s an annual EMS Memorial Service in the Rotunda.

Gov. Tom Wolf
 has no public schedule today.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Northampton
, holds a golf outing at Northampton Country Club. Admission runs $125 to $2,500, which is only mildly preposterous compared to what’s coming next.
The Senate Republican Campaign Committee holds its 10th annual golf outing at Laurel Valley golf club in scenic Ligonier, Pa. Admission runs from a merely offensive $500 up to a truly nauseating $15,000.

Some Congratulations:
Go out this morning to Bob DeSousa, the Pa. state director for U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who picked up the the Federal Bar Association’s highest honor over the weekend.
DeSousa, a colonel in the Pa. Army National Guard, who serves in its Judge Advocate General’s office, was given the Earl W. Kintner Award for Distinguished Service, which is a “lifetime contribution award to an FBA member who has displayed long-term outstanding achievement, distinguished leadership, and participation in the activities of the association’s chapters, sections, and divisions throughout the nation over a career of service,” Toomey’s office said in a statement.
DeSousa, a former federal prosecutor and former state Inspector General, is “a patriot who has dedicated his life to serving his community, commonwealth, and nation,” Toomey said in a statement.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s an old fave from Gin Blossoms to get the working week rolling. It’s ‘Hey Jealousy.’

Monday’s Gratuitous Soccer Link.
Record crowds turned out for this weekend’s WSL derbies in England, prompting calls for the women’s game to be played in bigger stadiums. The Guardian has the story.

And now you’re up to date. 

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.