Phil Galewitz covers Medicaid, Medicare, long‐term care, hospitals and various state health issues. He has covered the health beat for nearly two decades. He is a board member of the Association of Health Care Journalists. In 2004‐05, he was a Kaiser Media Fellow and wrote about community solutions to the uninsured. Before coming to KHN, he was at The Palm Beach Post and was a national health industry writer for the Associated Press and The Patriot‐ News in Harrisburg, Pa. He has a BA in health planning and administration and a master's in public administration with an emphasis in health policy. | Contact: PGalewitz@kff.org | @PhilGalewitz
The number of people without health insurance fell to 48.6 million last year, or 15.7 percent of the population, the first drop since 2007, according to new census numbers reported Wednesday.
But the rate is almost twice as high in New Jersey, largely because the state pays doctors so little to participate in the program for low-income and disabled residents.
Illinois is the latest state to act, imposing a limit of four drugs.
State is moving ahead with plans to cut thousands of residents from the health insurance program for the poor.
Officials say the strategy helps patients, as well as providers. But critics complain it's about revenue generation, not about improving health.
In letter to governors, HHS Secretary Sebelius urges states to "take advantage of unusually generous" Medicaid expansion deal.
Some low-income adults could be thrown "into a black hole with nowhere to turn for coverage."
A growing number of Republican lawmakers and state Medicaid officials say they may pass up the nearly $1 trillion federal pot to expand the program. Politics is a factor, but cash-strapped states also have legitimate budget concerns.
The Supreme Court Thursday gave states the option to skip the Medicaid expansion, but the pressure of accepting millions in new federal dollars to pay for coverage for low-income people may be too great.
Under the health law, Medicaid will grow to cover every American with a household income below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. A ruling against the expansion -- or the entire law – could result in cutbacks and potentially threaten the entire program.