health and human services

A new report from the federal department that oversees Medicaid finds that prescribers in Ohio may still be overprescribing opioids in some cases.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general looked at opioid prescriptions for Medicaid participants in Ohio between June of 2016 and May of 2017.

  • They found that close to 5,000 Medicaid recipients received high doses of opioids in that period and more than 40,000 children under 18 received prescriptions.

     

Ohio U.S. Senator Rob Portman
J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Ohio’s Rob Portman was among the U.S. senators on Tuesday who grilled the secretary of Health and Human Services about how it has handled thousands of children of immigrants separated from their parents.

Abortion rights supporters protest at the Statehouse.
JO INGLES / Ohio Public Radio

Abortion rights advocates in Ohio are worried about the effect of what they call a “gag rule” that would ban family planning clinics from receiving federal funds if they refer women for abortions or share space with abortion providers.

Updated at 11:40 a.m. ET

The Trump administration is reviving a rule that would deny federal family planning funds to organizations that provide abortions or make abortion referrals.

The rule is similar to one in place during the Reagan administration. The proposal was drafted by the Health and Human Services Department and is under review by the White House budget office.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has this pen. It's not all that remarkable looking, but he held it up multiple times Monday at a briefing with reporters.

"This pen," he said, "has a lot of power."

And he said he is prepared to use it.

Azar was making the point that in the area of drug prices, the head of HHS — which runs the Medicare and Medicaid programs and buys about $130 billion in prescription drugs each year — can make a lot of changes in the pharmaceutical market. And he doesn't need congressional approval to do it.

President Trump quietly signed an executive order Tuesday, directing federal agencies to strengthen the work requirements for various welfare programs. The move could eventually affect recipients of Medicaid, food stamps, housing assistance and cash welfare.

The administration argues that despite low unemployment — just 4.1 percent last month — enrollment in various government assistance programs remains high, years into the economic recovery.

The Trump administration wants to allow insurance companies to offer more policies that have limited health benefits and that can reject customers if they have pre-existing medical conditions.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says the plans, which don't meet the legal requirements for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, will allow consumers who can't afford insurance now to find cheaper plans.

Updated at 11:29 a.m. ET

The Trump administration is encouraging states to require "able-bodied" Medicaid recipients to work or volunteer in order to keep their health insurance coverage.

On Thursday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, issued new guidelines for states that want some adults to work in exchange for the health insurance coverage.

Updated at 1:48 p.m. ET

President Trump is nominating a former pharmaceutical executive to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency that, among other things, regulates prescription drugs.

The nomination comes at a time when rising drug prices have become a hot political issue.

Ohio State College of Social Work

Ohio State’s College of Social Work announced that it has received a $3 million grant to fight substance abuse in the state. 

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