Payer Roundup—CareFirst donates $1.5M to help federal workers 

A dollar sign created by Monopoly game houses is surrounded by Monopoly money. Dice and the car token appear next to the dollar sign as well.
CareFirst is making a $1.5 million donation to charities that assist federal workers effected by the government shutdown. (Getty Images/martince2)

CareFirst to donate $1.5M to help workers affected by federal shutdown 

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, the largest nonprofit insurer in the Mid-Atlantic region, announced it will donate $1.5 million to charities assisting people affected by the government shutdown. 

The insurer will contribute $1 million to the Federal Employee Education & Assistance Fund, a nonprofit that offers emergency financial help to civil federal and postal workers and their families. In addition, it will donate $500,000 to local food banks and social services programs. 

CareFirst also plans to have an internal food drive and will match each employee cash donation with $500. In addition to CareFirst's donation, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association also donated $1 million to the fund on behalf of other Blues plans.

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“In this challenging time, we have a responsibility to provide support for the federal workers who serve us all,” CareFirst CEO Brian Pieninck said. (Announcement

Iowa Supreme Court hears case on state's ban on Medicaid coverage for gender transition surgery 

The Iowa Supreme Court heard the first arguments in a case asserting the state’s ban on Medicaid coverage for gender transition-related care is discriminatory. 

A lower court ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union and two transgender Iowan women who brought arguments, reversing state officials’ decision to deny coverage. The state appealed that ruling. 

Iowa’s Medicaid program classified gender reassignment and other transition procedures as cosmetic. Assistant Attorney General Matthew Gillespie argued that the original determination isn’t discriminatory, because it was not about gender specifically but rather whether these procedures are done for physical health or psychological reasons. 

State health officials also noted that these procedures can be costly, and there are finite Medicaid resources to cover patient needs. (Des Moines Register

AHIP, PhRMA-led group launches ad campaign against "Medicare for All"

The Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, a group co-founded by America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, has launched a digital ad campaign against proposed “Medicare for All” policies. 

The partnership, which formed to combat growing discussion on single-payer policies, argues a “Medicare for All” system would rob patients of choice in their healthcare. Instead, policymakers should focus on fixing the existing system. 

“‘Medicare for All’ will mean more politics in healthcare and will eliminate choice for all Americans,” one of the ads states.  

The ads will run on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. (The Hill

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