- Ohio: So many Ohio residents are succumbing to overdoses from opioids and heroin that in some communities cold-storage trailers are being used to store bodies that cannot be held in the morgue. According to the Ohio Department of Health, there were 2,590 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2015—a 775 percent jump from 2003. Rick Walters, an investigator for the Stark County coroner's office, said, "I remember the drug problem we had in the late '60s and early '70s when I joined the department. The fatality numbers [were] nothing even close to this" (Phillips, "To Your Health," Washington Post, 3/16).
- Texas: Democrats and some Republicans in Texas are concerned with how efforts to repeal and replace the ACA could affect Medicaid beneficiaries in the state. Texas has more uninsured individuals than any other state, NPR's "Shots" reports, and according to Anne Dunkelberg of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, "about half of what Texas hospitals get from Medicaid today comes through payments that are outside from the regular Medicaid program." Experts aren't sure how those non-traditional funding streams will fare under potential reform efforts, "Shots" reports. Moreover, according to Adriana Kohler with Texans Care for Children, Texas could be disadvantaged under the House GOP's American Health Care Act because the state currently funds Medicaid at relatively low levels—and the GOP bill would shift Medicaid to a per-person funding formula beginning in 2020 based on how much a state spends today (Lopez, "Shots," NPR, 3/17).
- Washington D.C. Former CMS acting administrator Andy Slavitt is joining the Bipartisan Policy Center as a senior advisor. Slavitt told the Washington Post that he hopes he can help find some common ground between Republicans and Democrats on health care, ultimately delivering "a policy platform that will connect the real world and Washington, D.C." Slavitt will be joined by Natalie Davis, who served as his senior adviser during his time at CMS. Davis will serve as director of strategic engagement at the organization (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 3/16).
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