May 22, 2019

New poverty definition could cut health benefits for millions

A homeless encampment in Harbor City, Calif. Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

The Trump administration's proposal to change how the federal poverty level is calculated would cut millions of people's health benefits, according to a new analysis by the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

What's happening: The Office of Management and Budget proposal would adopt a lower rate of inflation to determine poverty — meaning the poverty limit would rise more slowly, and fewer people would qualify for assistance.

By the numbers: After 10 years, the change would result in:

  • More than 250,000 seniors or people with disabilities either losing their eligibility for Medicare Part D's low income subsidy program, or receiving less assistance from it.
  • More than 150,000 seniors or people with disabilities losing assistance with their Medicare premiums.
  • More than 300,000 children losing Medicaid and CHIP coverage.
  • More than 250,000 people losing the coverage they gained through the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion.
  • More than 150,000 ACA exchange enrollees losing all or some of their cost-sharing assistance.
  • Tens of thousands of ACA enrollees losing their premium subsidies, and millions receiving smaller subsidies.

Go deeper: Poor people spend more of their income on health care

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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 continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

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Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.