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Archive for June 2014

Thousands in PA Await Word on Medicaid Eligibility

More than 60,000 Pennsylvanians are waiting to hear from the state about their application for Medicaid benefits. The 60,000 are among more than 1.7 million people nation-wide who have applied for Medicaid are still waiting for a decision on their eligibility – some for as long as eight months. More than half of those still waiting are in California while some live in states that, like Pennsylvania, have not expanded their Medicaid programs. The delays have been attributed to problems transferring data received on the federal health insurance exchange to state governments, state programs overwhelmed with volume, technical problems in the states, and other reasons. Many of those who still await word on their application for Medicaid benefits undoubtedly live … Read More

Posted in Affordable Care Act, Pennsylvania Medicaid policy

Uncompensated Care Down in Medicaid Expansion States

Hospitals in states that chose to take advantage of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion option are providing less charity care than hospitals in states that have not expanded their Medicaid programs. So reports the Colorado Hospital Association after its survey of 465 hospitals in 30 states. According to the survey, hospitals’ proportion of Medicaid patients increased in states that expanded their Medicaid programs and did not increase in states that did not expand their Medicaid program and uncompensated care fell in states that expanded their Medicaid programs but did not in other states. Addressing the extent of these changes, the survey found that The changes seen here are not only distinct, but also substantial. The Medicaid proportion of total … Read More

Posted in Affordable Care Act, Pennsylvania Medicaid policy

Members of Congress Urge Delay in Medicare DSH Cuts

Fifty-eight members of the House of Representatives have written to House leadership asking them to delay the continued implementation of Affordable Care Act-mandated Medicare disproportionate share (Medicare DSH) cuts. The letter, to House Speaker John Boehner and minority leader Nancy Pelosi, notes that …hospitals that qualify for Medicare DSH are, by definition, the very providers caring for the greatest numbers of low-income and low-income elderly patients.  In recent years, hospitals have incurred $270 billion in Medicare cuts, including reductions in their annual cost-of-living adjustments, penalties through Medicare’s value-based purchasing and readmissions reduction programs, reduced Medicare bad debt reimbursement, and continued cuts from sequestration.  Medicare DSH cuts at this time could jeopardize the health care safety net that our constituents and … Read More

Posted in Affordable Care Act

Feds Question PA’s MCO Gross Receipts Tax

The federal government is questioning Pennsylvania’s use of proceeds from its tax on Medicaid managed care organizations to draw down federal Medicaid matching funds. Federal law permits some use of revenue from health care-related taxes to help finance the state’s share of Medicaid spending, but such taxes must be “broad-based” and a 2009 change in the law narrowed the definition of what constitutes a broad-based tax. According to an audit performed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General, Pennsylvania’s current tax on HealthChoices managed care organizations (MCOs) …is impermissible because it is not broad based (the Gross Receipts Tax does not apply to all MCOs) and because it holds the Medicaid MCOs harmless … Read More

Posted in Pennsylvania Medicaid policy
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