Archive for October 2013
As the congressional budget conference committee begins its work, SNAP has asked members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation to urge their colleagues serving on the committee to protect the state’s safety-net hospitals from any further Medicare and Medicaid cuts. In the message, SNAP notes the significant Medicare and Medicaid cuts the state’s safety-net hospitals have already suffered and warns that further cuts could jeopardize access to care in communities across the commonwealth. Read SNAP’s message to the Pennsylvania congressional delegation here, on the SNAP web site.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s “Healthy Pennsylvania” proposal calls for an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program as envisioned when the Affordable Care Act was passed three years ago. Or does it? Is it Medicaid expansion or is it something entirely different? In the article “Pennsylvania Governor Talks Up Plan To Expand Medicaid His Way,” Kaiser Health News takes a look at how elected officials, advocates, and others are viewing the recent Healthy Pennsylvania proposal. Find the article here.
Even as Pennsylvania considers a new approach to serving some Medicaid patients, hospitals are complaining about the inadequacy of the state’s Medicaid payments for outpatient services. Those payments, hospitals note, sometimes amount to only 30-40 percent of the cost of some outpatient services. While Medicaid inpatient fees have been raised on several occasions over the years, outpatient fees have been the same for more than two decades. Read more about the challenges Pennsylvania hospitals face in getting adequate reimbursement for Medicaid outpatient services in this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article.
The Pennsylvania Health Law Project has released its latest edition of its Health Law PA News newsletter. The September 2013 edition includes articles about the launch of the federal health insurance marketplace, the new Medicaid eligibility rules that took effect on October 1, Governor Corbett’s proposed Medicaid expansion, and more. Find the latest Health Law PA News here.
Pennsylvania has extended its Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through the end of 2015. The law renewing the program, which provides health insurance to all children who needs it, also eliminates the six-month waiting period for eligibility for services. The state also intends to increase its outreach efforts in an attempt to reverse a recent decline in program enrollment. Currently, CHIP serves 188,000 children in the state. Read more about the CHIP renewal and the program itself in this Philadelphia Inquirer article.
More than five million adult Americans will fall into the Affordable Care Act’s Supreme Court-created coverage gap in states that have chosen not to expand their Medicaid programs. In those 26 states, adults whom the reform law intended to be covered by Medicaid will still earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid yet also will fall below the income level needed to qualify for Affordable Care Act health insurance subsidies. This gap was created when the Supreme Court made the reform law-mandated Medicaid expansion optional for individual states, and so far, 26 states have chosen not to expand their Medicaid programs. The result, according to a new issue brief from the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, is … Read More
Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare Secretary Beverly Mackereth has sent the following message to health care providers and other stakeholders that will be affected by the state’s loss of $180 million in national tobacco settlement money as a result of a recent arbitrary decision. October 2, 2013 I am reaching out to you, our valued stakeholder, to provide you with information about the potential impact of the recent tobacco master settlement agreement (MSA) decision. Please understand this legal action and the potential next steps are in no way a reflection of the quality of your work or actions as a partner with the Department of Public Welfare (DPW). This decision stems back to circumstances that occurred in 2003. As you … Read More
Pennsylvania’s loss of $180 million from the national tobacco master settlement agreement could affect the state’s Tobacco Uncompensated Care program, which provides supplemental funding to hospitals that provide significant amounts of uncompensated care. The $180 million cut represents 60 percent of the state’s overall tobacco revenue. According to a news release from the governor’s budget office, The reduction will occur in the state’s April 2014 MSA [master settlement agreement] payment, which supports spending in the current year’s budget. This is forcing the state to freeze discretionary funding from the MSA, which will reduce funds for health research (Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement [CURE] grants), Life Sciences Greenhouses, uncompensated care to hospitals, and discretionary funds related to tobacco prevention and cessation programs. … Read More
A bid by the state of Arkansas to expand access to Medicaid by enabling newly eligible recipients to use federal Medicaid funds to purchase health insurance has been approved by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). While the Arkansas Medicaid proposal is not identical to Governor Corbett’s recently released “Healthy Pennsylvania” plan, the two share a key common component: the use of federal Medicaid funds to enable newly eligible recipients to purchase private insurance through new health insurance exchanges that open for business on October 1. The path to federal approval for Healthy Pennsylvania remains challenging, but the Arkansas ruling appears to be a clear sign that the federal government is receptive to one of the key … Read More