Weekly Column

Medicaid Expansion Life and Death Issue

Charlene Dill was a 33 year old mother of three in Orlando, Florida. She worked three jobs to support her family. She had a treatable heart condition. Charlene also fell into the “coverage gap” – she made too much money (a whole $9,000 per year) to qualify for Medicaid in Florida, too little to qualify for a subsidy to purchase insurance on the new health insurance marketplaces, and none of her jobs provided health insurance. She was uninsured. Florida decided not to expand their Medicaid program as allowed under the Affordable Care Act to cover low-income working people like Ms. Dill.

Opportunities and Challenges in Ag Census

USDA’s Census of Agriculture provides statistical information that should help the agency respond to opportunities in American agriculture, such as the 14,000 more farms claiming farming as their primary occupation than there were in 2007.

However, in the size categories from 50 to 999 acres nearly 56,000 fewer farms were reported nationally. 
And there was a net loss of over 96,000 farms in the 35-54 age group categories.

Clearing the Regulatory Waters

After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.

Keep Calm and Carry on with Healthcare.gov

Officially, the open period for enrolling in the new healthcare marketplace expired at midnight, March 31st. However, consumers who began their enrollment through healthcare.gov or the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Call Center and, through no fault of their own, have been unable to complete the process by the deadline have been granted a special enrollment extension. Consumers enrolling after March 31st will have to attest that they tried to enroll prior to the end of open enrollment.

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