Gutting Medicaid will harm generations to come (Opinion Baltimore Sun)

Elijah Cummings, Leana S. Wen, Kevin Lindamood

A bill to fundamentally change the way Americans purchase and receive health care passed the House of Representatives and is now waiting consideration in the Senate. The bill, which was opposed by nearly every major medical organization, threatens the health and well-being of millions of Americans with public and private insurance.

The bill would effectively gut Medicaid, the program that today, thanks to expansion under the Affordable Care Act(ACA), ensures health services for 74 million Americans, including nearly 1.3 million Marylanders. As leaders and frontline health professionals, we see daily how Medicaid saves lives and provides hope and stability, and our state must join a growing national effort to preserve it.

On Monday, we will join with leaders from the NAACP, Health Care Access Maryland, Health Care for All! and advocates around the state at a public forum to advance our work here in Maryland to save Medicaid. We start that work by making sure elected officials and fellow citizens alike know and understand the role of Medicaid in safeguarding health and life in Baltimore, Maryland and nationally.

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Federal funding cut to teen pregnancy prevention programs will hurt Baltimore, health commissioner says (BaltimoreSun)

The Trump administration’s decision to cut short a grant program that would have spent $214 million to support teen pregnancy prevention programs will have far-reaching consequences in cities across the United States, including Baltimore. After the program ends next June, the city will lose the equivalent of $3.5 million in funding for a variety of programs aimed at curtailing unintended teen pregnancies. Another $880,000 grant funds research at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health to evaluate a program to reduce sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy among American Indian teens, City Health Commissioner Leana Wen called the decision shocking and “unprecedented.” “We have not ever received a cut to an existing program without explanation, and when the funds were readily available,” she said.

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An Assault on Efforts to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy (NyTimes)

With flimsy justification, and in small type buried in routine documents, the Trump administration has informed 81 local governments and health groups that it will end grants they have received to run teen pregnancy prevention programs, two years before the grants are scheduled to end. The decision is unsettling even by the disquieting standards of this anti-science administration.

The rate at which teenagers have babies in the United States fell by nearly 50 percent between 2007 and 2015, though it is still higher than in other industrialized countries. A lot of the credit for the decline belongs to health and education officials who have been coming up with new approaches to educate young people about sex and get them to make better decisions. One such effort was the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, created by Congress and implemented by the Obama administration in 2010. It provides five-year grants, in annual distributions, to cities, counties and health organizations to operate and evaluate public health programs aimed at teenagers. Funding for a second round of grants began in 2015, but it will now expire in 2018 instead of 2020.

The department that runs the program, Health and Human Services, made no effort initially to explain its decision, which was tucked into a routine grant letter earlier this summer. The decision came before Congress has even voted on appropriations for the next fiscal year, which begins in October. By cutting the grants short, the department is depriving recipients of about $200 million.

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Abrupt Trump cuts to teen pregnancy program surprise groups (The Hill)

The Trump administration has abruptly cut short grant programs aimed at ending teen pregnancy, leaving the institutions that receive the funds scrambling for answers. 

An office within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified 81 institutions across the U.S. that the five-year grants they were awarded would end two years sooner than planned.

The Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program, a national program created in 2010 under former President Barack Obama, funds organizations working to reduce and prevent teen pregnancy, with a focus on reaching populations with the greatest need.

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