Archive for January 2018
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
The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion has improved access to surgical services for Medicaid patients. Or so says a new study published in JAMA Surgery, which reports that In this study of patients with 1 of 5 common surgical conditions, Medicaid expansion was associated with a 7.5–percentage point increase in insurance coverage at the time of hospital admission. The policy was also associated with patients obtaining care earlier in their disease course and with an increased probability of receiving optimal care for those conditions. As a result, the study found, The ACA’s Medicaid expansion was associated with increased insurance coverage and improved receipt of timely care for 5 common surgical conditions. This development is especially relevant to Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals … Read More
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
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
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
The section 340B prescription drug program has flaws and needs change, a report by the House Energy and Commerce Committee has concluded. The program, which requires pharmaceutical companies to provide discounts on prescription drugs to be dispensed on an outpatient basis to qualified providers that serve large numbers of low-income patients, has been controversial in recent years. As the number of providers eligible for the program has grown, pharmaceutical companies have claimed that the program is expensive, is being abused, and is responsible for driving up prescription drug costs while providers insist that 340B is a vital tool in helping them serve low-income patients. Congress, meanwhile, has questioned the program’s growth and sought accountability for how providers use the savings … Read More
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.
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has issued a new Medical Assistance Bulletin titled “Hospital Responsibilities Related to the Uncompensated Care Program and Charity Care Plans.” According to the document, The purpose of this Medical Assistance (MA) Bulletin is to remind hospitals of the requirements for the Hospital Uncompensated Care Program (Program) and reinforce the responsibility of hospitals to actively engage patients when determining eligibility for the Program. See the entire Bulletin here.