Friday Five: More U.S. children lack health insurance for the first time in a decade

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December 14, 2018

In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about rising numbers of children without health insurance, funding for Section 1332 waivers, government technology improvements, apprenticeship programs, and healthcare spending.

1. ‘Kids are falling off’: Why fewer children have health insurance now

Last year, the number of U.S. children without health insurance increased by 276,000. This represents the first increase since the data tracking began in 2008. According to NBC News, there are multiple contributing factors to this increase: Uninsured rates for children were 3 times as high in states that have not expanded Medicaid, cuts to Affordable Care Act outreach programs may have lowered enrollment, and the delayed Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) reauthorization caused confusion.

2. CMS announces 2019 pass-through funding for state waivers 

Health Affairs reports that six states were publicly notified earlier this week of the amount of pass-through funding they will be receiving for Section 1332 waivers. Most of these states are using the waiver to create or continue a state-based reinsurance program. Several states are still awaiting notification of their funding amounts for 2019.

3. Congress votes for better government websites, digital services 

This week, the Senate passed the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA). As reported by NextGov, the legislation sets deadlines for federal agencies to improve the user experience of their websites and digital services. The new rules intend to increase ease of use, accessibility, and digital security for citizens.

4. New apprenticeships pathways to employment, officials say 

The Somerset County Career and Technology Center in Pennsylvania is developing pre-apprentice curriculum for all its high school programs. According to the Tribune-Democrat, these training programs are expected to help increase employability and provide skilled workers for in-demand fields.

5. CMS: Health spending growth slowed to 3.9% in 2017 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that health spending had risen at a lower rate in 2017 than in the previous two years, primarily due to a decrease in spending on hospital care, physician services, and prescription drugs. MedPage Today reports that many consider the slowing rate to be a good sign, but caution there are still areas of concern.