The vast majority of people who’ve been kicked out of state Medicaid programs as part of the post-pandemic “unwinding” have been dropped because of technicalities, such as failing to respond to paperwork requests, and not because they made too much money to qualify for coverage. The finding comes from Kaiser Health News, which gathered data from 19 states (Louisiana not included) that started cancellations by May 1. 

About 15 million people will be dropped over the next year as states review participants’ eligibility in monthly tranches. Most people will find health coverage through new jobs or qualify for subsidized plans through the Affordable Care Act. But millions of others, including many children, will become uninsured and unable to afford basic prescriptions or preventive care. The uninsured rate among those under 65 is projected to rise from a historical low of 8.3% today to 9.3% next year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Louisiana began reviewing eligibility in April, and has federal approval to complete the process in 12 months. But state House Republicans want to shorten the process to nine months, which could expose the state to potential fines and lead to more people getting pushed out of the program on procedural grounds. 

Mixed news for states on debt deal
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is being hailed in the media for accomplishing the bare minimum – avoiding America’s first-ever default on its public debt – by steering a debt-ceiling package through the House of Representatives. Cities and states, meanwhile, are breathing a bit easier after negotiators backed away from efforts to “claw back” unspent pandemic relief funds. But Route Fifty’s Kery Murakami reports that spending caps included in the deal means cities and states shouldn’t expect additional help from Washington.  

Another part of the deal would keep federal spending largely flat for the next two years, making it less likely that cities and states will get more help from Washington to deal with problems such as the nation’s housing crisis. A failure to increase spending even enough to reflect inflation would mean less money for housing, said Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, in a statement on Sunday. “This debt ceiling deal could lead to tens of thousands of families losing rental assistance during an already worsening housing and homelessness crisis,” she wrote.

A racist attempt to restrict diversity
The House Education Committee killed a resolution on Wednesday that would have required public schools to report details about their campus diversity, equity and inclusion programs. Supporters touted the resolution as an accountability measure, but university leaders called it a racist attempt to restrict campus efforts to diversify their student bodies and ensure that everyone feels welcome. The Advocate’s James Finn reports: 

​​”At its core, this is a racist instrument,” said Monty Sullivan, president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. “Diversity, equity and inclusion are a fact of life. It is a fact in my world, it is a fact in your world,” he added. “Some of us have come to realize that already. Others of us have not.” …  If it had progressed, the resolution would have called on public K-12 schools and universities to submit reports to the Legislature outlining funding, personnel and other elements of programs related to “critical race theory; diversity, equity, and inclusion; or transformative social emotional learning.” As a resolution, it would have held no force of law. 

The property insurance crisis is spreading
The increased risk of fires, floods and hurricanes brought on by human-caused climate change is driving up the cost of property insurance in markets around the country, leaving regulators struggling to make sure homeowners are protected in case of disaster. In Louisiana, the Legislature has tried to address the crisis by steering surplus dollars to an incentive fund designed to lure new companies into the market, and by creating to a new programs to fortify coastal homeowners’ roofs to lower their insurance costs. But researchers studying climate change’s impact on finance told the New York Times’ Christopher Flavell, Jill Cowan and Ivan Penn that the influx of cash may be too little, too late:

Jesse Keenan, a professor at Tulane University in New Orleans and an expert in climate adaptation and finance, said the state’s insurance market would be hard to turn around. The high cost of insurance has begun to affect home prices, he said. In the past, it would have been possible for some communities — those where homes are passed down from generation to generation, with no mortgages required and no banks demanding insurance — to go without insurance altogether. But as climate change makes storms more intense, that’s no longer an option. “There’s just not enough wealth in those low-income communities to continue to rebuild, storm after storm,” Dr. Keenan said.

Many homeowners facing exorbitant rates are turning to upstart and fly-by-night insurers, The New Orleans Advocate/Times Picayune’s Michael Finch II reports: 

(Broadmoor resident Denise Hancock) said signing up was simple: No agent. No inspection. Everything was done online in less than an hour.  But there’s one significant downside to buying a policy from KIN: The company is a “surplus lines” insurer, meaning its rates are not regulated by the state. As a result, KIN’s losses are not backed by Louisiana’s insurance bailout fund if the company ever goes broke. It’s a risk more consumers are willing to take these days, given the state of the market. 

Number of the Day79 – Percentage of the 100 counties with the highest levels of medical debt that are located in states that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The share of Louisianans with medical debt fell 8.1 percentage points in the years after Gov. John Bel Edwards expanded Medicaid eligibility in 2016. (Source: Kaiser Family Foundation via Urban League and American Public Health Association)