Trump team succeeds in freezing progress on health insurance enrollment, poverty

Years of progress on health insurance enrollment halted abruptly in 2017 as Trump administration officials intentionally unplugged the policy machines that pushed the uninsured rate below 10 percent over the previous half-decade.

New Census Bureau figures on poverty released Wednesday show the uninsured rate held steady at 8.8 percent last year, marking the first failure to improve enrollment levels since at least 2013. Changes to Census data collection that year make comparisons to...

Cities sue Trump for sabotaging Obamacare

Four cities filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration Thursday accusing the president and his cabinet of “waging a relentless campaign to sabotage and, ultimately, to nullify” the Affordable Care Act.

The suit — filed in a Maryland federal court by Chicago, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Baltimore — comes on the heels of the Department of Health and Human Services’ finalization Wednesday of regulations allowing people to keep short-term health insurance plans for up to...

Vermont to regulate Trump administration’s fraud-prone association health plan rule

Vermont officials are seeking to regulate the Trump administration’s association health plan proposal, introduced in January and finalized by the Department of Labor last month, amid concerns that the plans would make health insurance inaccessible and prone to fraud.

Introduced under the guise of providing consumers with more choice and cheaper options, association health plans (AHP) allow businesses to form associations based on geography or industry and can provide insurance plans...

Vermont to regulate Trump administration’s fraud-prone association health plan rule

Vermont officials are seeking to regulate the Trump administration’s association health plan proposal, introduced in January and finalized by the Department of Labor last month, amid concerns that the plans would make health insurance inaccessible and prone to fraud.

Introduced under the guise of providing consumers with more choice and cheaper options, association health plans (AHP) allow businesses to form associations based on geography or industry and can provide insurance plans...

Trump justice department will stop defending key parts of Obamacare

Administration makes rare decision not to defend federal law in court, pointing to changes in the measure due next year

The Trump administration said in a court filing late on Thursday that it would no longer defend key parts of the Affordable Care Act, a rare departure from the justice department’s practice of defending federal laws in court.

It said that the requirement that people have health insurance – the individual mandate – was unconstitutional and that the entire law, ...

Health Department secretary open to national Medicaid work requirements

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told a Senate panel Thursday that he’s willing to work with Congress on legislation that would require people to work a designated amount of hours or lose Medicaid.

States that want to implement Medicaid work requirements have so far sought federal permission to do so, by waiver, but now, Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-LA) is aiming to go further by proposing that the federal government impose work requirements across the board in ever...

Trump administration weighs letting states drug test people who receive food assistance

The Trump administration is considering a plan that would allow states to require Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — formerly known as food stamps — recipients to undergo drug testing in order to receive benefits, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

According the AP, the proposal would apply mostly to recipients who are able-bodied without dependents and applying to some specialized jobs. It’s a tactic many conservatives have advocated for in ...

In just 24 hours, Scott Pruitt’s scandals blew up into an ethics crisis

From pipeline deals and GOP fundraisers to private jets and pay raises, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s series of scandals has escalated in the past 24 hours.

Pruitt is not a man untouched by scandal. Since coming to the EPA in February of 2017, he has made headlines for expensive first-class travel, secretive private phone booths, and a close relationship with the industries he is charged to regulate.

And on Monday — the same da...

Surprise! The Trump administration just admitted it has to follow Obamacare

In an unexpected development, the Department of Health and Human Services sent a letter to Idaho Gov. Butch Otter (R) on Thursday reluctantly conceding that Obamacare “remains the law and we have a duty to enforce and uphold the law.”

The letter, from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, informs Idaho that insurers will not be allowed to sell illegal plans within that state which threatened to destabilize Idaho’s insurance markets...