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Archive for Federal Medicaid issues

Medicaid Changes: More Than Just Work Requirements Coming?

While the green light for state applications to impose work requirements on their Medicaid recipients is receiving all of the attention, the Trump administration has issued guidance that appears to pave the way for other major changes in the Medicaid program as well. Specifically, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued guidance that will enable states to pursue section 1115 waivers to test different ways of serving Medicaid patients that are otherwise not permitted under federal Medicaid law, including: establishing time limits on how many months or years individuals may be enrolled in Medicaid; locking out for a specified period of time Medicaid recipients who have not gone through annual eligibility redetermination or have failed to pay Medicaid … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues

MACPAC Meets

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission met last week in Washington, D.C. to discuss a variety of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program issues. MACPAC, the non-partisan legislative branch agency that performs policy and data analysis and makes recommendations to Congress, the administration, and the states, addressed a number of issues during the meeting.  Among them it discussed Medicaid managed long-term services and supports (MLTSS) and voted to recommend that states be given the opportunity to seek permission to make Medicaid beneficiary enrollment in managed care plans mandatory through revisions of their state plan amendment rather than by seeking Medicaid waivers. The commission also heard presentations on and discussed: the integration of substance use disorder treatment with other … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

Medicaid in the Spotlight

State-option work requirements. A cap on federal spending. New flexibility for states to address eligibility, benefits, and provider payments. Rolling back the Affordable Care Act’s eligibility expansion. Medicaid is under the policy microscope in Washington these days in ways it has not been for many years as the new administration continues to work to put its stamp on the federal government’s major program to provide health care to low-income Americans. These and other possible changes are of great interest to Pennsylvania’s safety-net hospitals because these hospitals care for so many more Medicaid and low-income patients than the typical community hospital. What are policy-makers considering and what are the potential implications of their efforts?  Learn more in the new Health Affairs … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

A New Use for Section 1115 Medicaid Waivers?

Historically, states have pursued section 1115 Medicaid waivers as a means of expanding Medicaid eligibility. But the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services now appears to be looking at granting 1115 waivers to help states reduce their Medicaid populations. According to a new report published by the Commonwealth Fund, CMS is encouraging states – both Medicaid expansion and non-expansion states – to launch demonstration programs designed to reduce enrollment in “means-tested public assistance” programs such as Medicaid.  In their efforts to cut spending and reduce Medicaid enrollment, states are expected to seek section 1115 waivers to experiment with means of doing so such as: establishing monthly premiums for Medicaid recipients eliminating retroactive eligibility imposing lifetime limits on how long individuals … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues

Administration Lays Groundwork for Medicaid Work Requirements

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued guidelines for states interested in adding a work requirement component to their Medicaid programs. With nearly a dozen states applying to implement controversial Medicaid work requirements, CMS has issued a guidance letter to state Medicaid directors outlining the criteria it will use when considering such applications. The new policy does not mandate work requirements in state Medicaid programs; it only presents the parameters CMS will use when considering the applications of states wishing to impose such requirements. For  more information about the new policy, see the following resources: CMS’s news release announcing the new policy The letter CMS sent to state Medicaid directors explaining the new policy A CMS FAQ on … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues

Report Looks at Work Requirements

As a growing number of states consider implementing work requirements as a condition for Medicaid eligibility, the Urban Institute has released a report that describes work requirements in various government cash assistance, nutrition assistance, and housing assistance programs and considers the degree to which those requirements have achieved their policy objectives. The report also describes the applications that eight states have submitted to the federal government seeking permission to introduce a work requirement in their Medicaid programs. Go here to see the Urban Institute report Work Requirements in Social Safety Net Programs: A Status Report of Work Requirements in TANF, SNAP, Housing Assistance, and Medicaid.

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues

The Continued Need for Medicaid DSH

While the Affordable Care Act has greatly increased the number of Americans with health insurance and reduced the demand for uncompensated care from hospitals, many hospitals still see significant numbers of uninsured patients. Some of those patients simply have not taken advantage of the health reform law’s creation of easier access to affordable insurance while others live in states that have not expanded their Medicaid programs. Hospitals that care for especially large numbers of such uninsured patients qualify for Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments, commonly referred to as Medicaid DSH.  The purpose of these payments is to help these hospitals with the unreimbursed costs they incur caring for such patients. The Affordable Care Act calls for reducing Medicaid DSH payments … Read More

Posted in Affordable Care Act, Federal Medicaid issues, Medicaid supplemental payments

Medicaid Directors Meet

The National Association of Medicaid Directors held its fall conference recently outside Washington, D.C. This is an important event at which policy-makers and policy experts meet to discuss Medicaid programs, trends, challenges, and opportunities. Many of the materials used during that conference are now publicly available, including video clips from speeches by CMS Administrator Seema Verma and others and presentations on a number of subjects, including: Medicaid’s role in supporting community engagement and economic mobility busting the silos of physical and behavioral health care alternative payment models and addressing the social determinants of health early intervention in behavioral health the opioid epidemic pediatric innovations in Medicaid Go here for links to the speeches and presentations offered at the conference.

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues

MACPAC Meets

The non-partisan legislative branch agency that advises Congress, the administration, and the states on Medicaid and CHIP-related issues met recently in Washington, D.C. The following is the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission’s own summary of its meeting. The December 2017 meeting of the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission began with a brief update on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Although federal funding for the CHIP expired at the end of September, legislation to renew funding was still pending in Congress. The Commission then heard from a panel discussing state tools to manage drug utilization and spending in Medicaid. Panelists included Renee Williams, director of clinical pharmacy services for TennCare; Doug Brown, Magellan Rx Management’s … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues

House to Set Sights on Medicare, Medicaid Cuts in 2018

The House of Representatives will pursue entitlement spending cuts next year, House Speaker Paul Ryan recently explained on a radio program. That means Medicare, Medicaid, and possibly even Social Security. Ryan said that We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit… Frankly, it’s the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt, so we spend more time on the health care entitlements — because that’s really where the problem lies, fiscally speaking. Medicare and Medicaid cuts would be very harmful to Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals. Learn more about Ryan’s remarks, the administration’s priorities, and what other members of Congress are saying about entitlement cuts in this Washington Post story.

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Medicare
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