No need to hoard: There’s plenty of food in the system

March 18, 2020, Politico, Ryan McCrimmion and Catherine Boudreau – Don’t be fooled by the barren grocery store shelves: There’s plenty more food on the way. Meat, dairy and produce groups as well as federal regulators say the U.S. has an ample amount of products in cold storage to handle the unexpected demand for food and household products from Americans. The latest Agriculture Department data shows record-high stocks of frozen poultry, cheeses like American and Swiss and red raspberries, while frozen pork supplies are up 11 percent from last year. Click here to view the story.

Trump signs second major COVID-19 relief package

March 18, 2020, Modern Healthcare, Rachel Cohrs – The federal government’s Medicaid matching funds will increase across the board by 6.2%. Hospital groups including the Greater New York Hospital Association, Federation of American Hospitals and America’s Essential Hospitals supported the payment bump. Similar policies were enacted in two previous bailout packages in the 2000s. Padding states’ Medicaid budget could help head off provider reimbursement cuts in a time when providers will be squeezed by having to delay high-margin procedures and an increase in uncompensated care. States receiving the funds will not be able to change eligibility requirements or raise premiums. Click here to view the story.

Mississippi senators pass paid leave for government employees, depart Capitol

March 18, 2020, The Clarion Ledger, Luke Ramseth – Mississippi lawmakers began at least a two-week hiatus Wednesday in the face of the growing COVID-19 outbreak, hoping to avoid the spread of the virus among dozens of legislators and staff who often work in close quarters. The Senate quickly passed two coronavirus measures Wednesday morning before departing. House Bill 1647 allows local governments and school districts to grant their employees paid leave in the coming weeks. House Resolution 65 allows legislators to suspend the session for at least two weeks, and possibly longer. Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and House Speaker Philip Gunn will decide when to return. Click here to view the story.

GOP-led states diverge on easing Medicaid access during COVID-19

March 18, 2020, Modern Healthcare, Harris Meyer – Work requirements and premiums are precisely the kinds of policies that are dangerous now and divert energy for state government staff, who are under enormous stress,” said Joan Alker, executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University. “They need to focus on facilitating as many people’s access to care as they can. Click here to view the story.

National Emergency Declaration Speeds Low-Income Health Care

March 13, 2020, PEW Trusts, Michael Ollove – The national emergency declaration President Donald Trump delivered today increases states’ authority to help low-income residents get testing and treatment for the new coronavirus. Trump’s declaration signals to governors that they can now apply to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for exemptions from some of the regulations governing Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. If those requests are granted, it could help governors address the crisis in a variety of ways. Click here to view the story.

© 2016 Mississippi Health Advocacy Program