Saturday, November 23, 2013

Health Matters Radio 11/23/13

On today's episode of Health Matters, we discussed a news article posted at as well as a poll it linked to, which was conducted on behalf of WISH TV 8 and Ball State University.

Download today's show (MP3)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Alternatives to HealthCare.Gov

For those having difficulty with HealthCare.Gov who simply want to get some estimates of what coverage might cost and which plans are available on the Health Insurance Marketplace, here are a couple web sites worth checking out:

Please note these sites are *unofficial* and do not replace a real application through the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.Gov.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Health Reform Self Study materials for Indiana

Nationally relevant materials:
(Note the webinars and slide decks offered, as these present coverage scenarios that could serve as useful illustrations.)

For Indiana:

(Particularly the training slides in the Navigator section)

Health Matters Radio 11/2/13

Today myself and Grayce Gadson covered some basics of the Affordable Care Act and how Health Reform applies to the state of Indiana. We focused on the fact that the law requires there be "no wrong door" - no matter where you apply for coverage, through the state or federal government, if it turns out you are eligible for a different program than the one to which you have applied, your application will be electronically transferred to the appropriate office and/or department.
Listen below, and please leave questions in the comments or tweet me @johnathang.

Download the MP3 of today's show

Links discussed on today's show:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Health Matters Radio 10/26/13

Today myself and Grayce Gadson covered some basics of the Affordable Care Act, changes in the Healthy Indiana Plan, and how Health Reform applies to the state of Indiana.
Listen below, and please leave questions in the comments or tweet me @johnathang.

Download the mp3 of Health Matters 10/26/13
Links discussed on today's show:

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

SNAP & EBT: Farmers' Markets or Fast Food?

1. The USDA has announced new funding to bring EBT card readers to direct sale farms and farmers markets, both rural and urban, to increase access to fresh foods direct from the farmer to the consumer:

2. California is one of the states which has exercised an option to allow specific categories of SNAP recipients to use their benefits to purchase hot food at restaurants. The categories usually include those who are homeless, over the age of 60, disabled, or if they do not have adequate cooking facilities at home.
Some restaurants are also accepting EBT cash benefits, such as TANF, and that would not require anyone to be in a category per the above, however they would be limited to the amount of cash benefits and the SNAP funds could be used in this case.

The restaurants are required to sell a complete meal to the participant, and at the best discounted rate available to any member of the general public, and usually the SNAP acceptable meals are limited to the "value meals" due to this regulation, as that is considered a discounted complete meal.
The specific meals which can be sold are defined on page 8 of this MOU:

The SNAP purchases are also exempt from sales tax, so the recipient must only pay the actual cost.

Another resource site on this program:

Notably, this is a state option. Each state can choose to participate in Restaurant Meals or not.

This article discusses:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

More on Medicaid Expansion in Indiana

Viewed in percentage terms, nearly 12 percent of Indiana’s 6.5 million people are currently uninsured. The onset of Obamacare, including an expansion of Medicaid coverage, would cut that number by nearly half, to 6 percent.
But if Indiana does not expand Medicaid coverage, its uninsured population will remain at nearly 10 percent.
In better Medicaid news, the state of Indiana has reversed some recession-era rate cuts, restoring provider rates for Traditional Medicaid & Hoosier Healthwise back to pre-2010 levels.

Michigan continues to negotiate both intrastate and with the federal government regarding just how restrictive state lawmakers may make the Medicaid program while still receiving new expansion funds under the Affordable Care Act.

Health Affairs studies the impact on both numbers and rates of uninsured by state, whether each state opts in or out of Medicaid Expansion.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Affordable Care Update

The Huffington Post reports refusing Medicaid Expansion could cost states billions of federal dollars.
The Rand Corp. analyzed 14 states with governors who oppose the Medicaid expansion. It found their actions will deprive 3.6 million people of health coverage under Obamacare, forgo $8.4 billion in federal funding, and cost them $1 billion for programs that partially compensate medical providers who care for the indigent, according to the report published in the journal "Health Affairs." 

The New York Times Economix blog suggests the Affordable Care Act could be a boon to enterpreneurship.

A Fiscal Times report offers the border between Kentucky and Indiana as an illustration of the "haves and have-nots" with Medicaid Expansion.
On a good day it only takes nine minutes to drive across the Ohio River between Clarksville, Ind., and Louisville, Ky.  But for hundreds of thousands of uninsured poor and disabled people who live throughout Indiana and Kentucky, that short span defines a boundary between winners and losers in the political battle over expanding Medicaid coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act.
For the record, I personally do not believe that Indiana should expand Traditional Medicaid, nor should it be forced to. I do believe that Indiana should work with the federal government, as they are right now, to reach a compromise solution that uses the best practices Indiana has developed while including important guarantees under the Affordable Care Act. This means, yes, there should be cost sharing, but there should be reasonable out of pocket limits, which apply on a sliding scale according to income. Yes, there should be an emphasis on preventive care, but the annual and lifetime dollar limits should be removed from the current HIP program if it becomes the basis for an expansion. The structure of the POWER account should be built upon, including the health incentive payments, as well as nonprofit and employer contributions contained in state law. Participants ought to understand that they must take responsibility for their individual health.

Mississippi offers a case in point, where a lack of cooperation could mean a massive loss of federal funds in a state that can hardly afford the hit. The state may be left with no enabling legislation that authorizes any part of the Medicaid program due to the partisan, bitter environment in the state legislature. It is possible the Governor may attempt to at least maintain the existing program with an executive order, but the legal authority to do so is unclear at best.