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Sunday, July 14, 2024

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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Colorado posts 2nd-highest loss of Medicaid coverage in nation

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Wednesday, July 10, 2024   

In May, Colorado ranked second in the nation for the percentage of residents dropped from Medicaid health insurance rolls - including 500,000 who were terminated for procedural reasons - according to new analysis by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy.

Bethany Pray, chief legal and policy officer with the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, explained when people with disabilities lose coverage, they lose critical services they rely on every day to live independently, interact with their families, and work.

"When you have a system that drops people from Medicaid, it does endanger life, it endangers health pretty immediately. And it also puts people at risk of being put into institutions, because they can't operate at home without those services," she said.

Medicaid coverage was automatically maintained during COVID, but that ended in the spring of 2023. Nearly half of enrolled Coloradans have since lost coverage. After a civil rights complaint, Colorado reinstated protections for people with disabilities in April of this year. State officials have defended the renewal process, arguing that numbers have returned to normal. They also say many participants didn't return paperwork or now have employer-based insurance.

A legislature-directed audit found that 90% of notices sent by state Medicaid offices to beneficiaries contained significant errors.

Pray noted the agency has publicly admitted they don't know what happened to 42% of participants - some 300,000 people - who lost coverage.

"We've also seen that clinics and hospitals are reporting seeing many more patients who don't have any form of coverage. So, there's a lot of reason for concern that those people have not gone to employer-based coverage," she explained.

Pray said eligibility staff are putting in long hours to re-enroll people. She believes the state needs to admit there is a problem and review the entire operation, starting with decades-old data systems.

"But there are resource issues and there are IT issues that are not surmountable by people just putting in a lot of hours. This needs state investment, and higher leadership's attention, in order for those problems to be addressed," she continued.


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