Sep 27, 2019

Medicaid programs embrace Uber and Lyft for patients

More state Medicaid programs are making it easier for patients to use ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft as a non-emergency transportation benefit, Kaiser Health News reports.

Why it matters: More than 2 million Medicaid enrollees under 65 years old delayed their care in 2017 because they lacked transportation, per a federal survey.

  • Lyft has partnered with about 35 state Medicaid programs, while Uber began working with Medicaid in Arizona this summer.
  • Enrollees don't need a smartphone or the ride-sharing app and won't have to reserve the ride days ahead of time, like they often have to do when using traditional Medicaid transportation programs.

Yes but: Transportation doesn't alleviate all the factors that may cause a Medicaid patient to miss an appointment — like lack of child care, scheduling conflicts or long wait times.

  • Uber and Lyft may also not be ideal for people who need longer than the allotted five-minute wait time for pick up.

Go deeper: Uber wants to get you to your doctor appointment

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Medicaid programs willing to boot out drug pricing middlemen

Pharmacy benefits are changing in many state Medicaid programs. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Michigan's Medicaid program is proposing to fire the pharmacy benefit managers that handle its prescription drug claims and negotiate prices. The state would manage drug coverage itself, starting Dec. 1.

The big picture: More state Medicaid agencies have determined that outsourcing all negotiations and operations of prescription drugs to PBMs has not produced the dramatic savings they were promised.

Go deeperArrowOct 8, 2019

Trump administration faces 2 more legal setbacks on health care agenda

The Trump administration's health care agenda suffered 2 more setbacks in court on Friday.

Driving the news: A federal judge in New York blocked implementation of the administration's "public charge" rule, which would make it harder for immigrants to gain legal status if they're likely to rely on public programs — including Medicaid or subsidies through the Affordable Care Act.

Go deeperArrowOct 14, 2019

Judge blocks Trump admin plan to penalize immigrants likely to use public benefits

People recieve free assistance with U.S. citizenship applications in Boston on Sept. 28, 2019. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A federal judge on Friday blocked the Trump administration's proposed rule to deny residency to immigrants who use or are likely to use public benefit programs such as food stamps, housing assistance or Medicaid, the New York Times reports.

Driving the news: In a separate proposal last week, the Trump administration proposed requiring immigrant-visa applicants to prove they can obtain health insurance within 30 days of entering the U.S. or cover their own health care expenses.

Go deeperArrowOct 11, 2019