Friday Five: Medicaid expansion can lower uninsured rate, provide opioid treatment & help state economies – but will that continue?

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May 24, 2018
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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about federal IT challenges, changes to Medicaid expansion funding, and the failed Farm bill.

1. Critical update: Federal CIO Suzette Kent on leading governmentwide transformation

Suzette Kent, federal Chief Information Officer, discusses the challenges federal agencies face in modernizing IT systems on this NextGov podcast. Agencies must address different issues such as acknowledging different skill sets and work environments, and the importance of leadership and agenda-setting.

2. Punishing employers for low wage workers will stigmatize workers on welfare  

Should companies whose employees still qualify for government benefits contribute more in taxes? This opinion piece, published in Forbes, argues that doing so would be difficult for companies to predict, since benefits are based off household income, and is contrary to the very design of these government programs to encourage and reward the working poor to succeed in employment.

3. We can fight opioid abuse by expanding Medicaid

In this News and Observer opinion piece, a small-town chief of police who has witnessed the opioid epidemic firsthand argues for Medicaid expansion. Expansion in North Carolina would insure an additional 400,000 individuals, including 150,000 with mental health or substance abuse issues.

4. States could face budgetary squeeze as Medicaid expansion funding drops off

States that expanded Medicaid have witnessed lower uninsured rates and improved economies. But according to this article in Fierce Healthcare, states are concerned about the economic impacts of expansion as federal support gradually declines over time.

5. Farm bill fails: Work requirements for food stamps, welfare benefits still on the table

Last week, the House voted against passing the farm bill, which included increased work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). KGBT reports that another farm bill is expected and may still include expanded work requirements.