Feb 2, 2018

Indiana boots 25,000 from Medicaid

This is a pretty eye-popping stat from Kaiser Health News: Indiana kicked about 25,000 people out of its Healthy Indiana Program — the Medicaid expansion program approved under then-Gov. Mike Pence — for not paying their premiums.

The rationale: The idea of adding premiums to Medicaid is to get enrollees used to the world of private health insurance, where you can also lose your coverage if you don’t pay your premiums. But most private insurance is job-based, where the risk of losing your coverage is lower because your share of your premium automatically comes out of your paycheck.

Worth noting: About half of those people got new health coverage in other ways, usually through a job. But that still leaves a lot of people who just lost their health coverage.

The big picture: Kentucky’s recently approved Medicaid waiver made headlines because it imposed work requirements on Medicaid benefits, but it also added premiums to the program, ranging from $1 to $15 per month. This is a trend.

  • But the Indiana news could jump-start a debate over whether low-income people can afford to pay for their coverage at all.

What’s next: HHS secretary Alex Azar is headed to Indiana today, possibly to announce the approval of its Medicaid work requirements. (HHS wouldn't confirm this.)

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Japan to close schools through late March to control coronavirus outbreak

A couple takes photos in front of the Olympic rings in Tokyo. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Thursday that the government will ask elementary, middle and high schools around the country to close until late March as an attempt to contain its novel coronavirus outbreak, AP reports.

Why it matters: The government's decision — impacting 12.8 million students across 34,847 schools — comes as concerns mount about the spread of the virus in Japan, which has 189 confirmed cases and hundreds more abroad the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Go deeper: The latest coronavirus updates

What the coronavirus means for Trump's presidency

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

A poor response to the coronavirus could be politically devastating for President Trump, and so far his administration has given the strong impression that it’s still scrambling as the risk of a pandemic mounts.

Why it matters: There’s only so much any president can do to stop a virus from spreading, and for now the coronavirus is still very much under control within the U.S. But if the disease get worse in the months ahead, and if the administration seems to be caught off guard, that spells trouble for public confidence in Trump.

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Coronavirus updates: New global case numbers surpass China's

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

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