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Archive for Federal Medicaid issues

Proposed Federal Reorganization Could Affect Health Care

Aspects of a proposed reorganization of the federal government could affect the agencies that administer key health care programs. In its 132-page Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century:  Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendations proposal, the White House calls for consolidating many social safety-net programs in a new Department of Health and Public Welfare.  This department would retain responsibility for Medicare and Medicaid but also would assume responsibility for some food aid programs, including food stamps (now the Supplemental Food Assistance Program, or SNAP). In addition, the proposal would: consolidate all health research programs in the National Institutes of Health, including the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the National Institute … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Medicare

Verdict: Medicaid Expansion Improved Care and Access

A new review of studies published since the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion has concluded that expansion improved care, access to care, and coverage in states that expanded their Medicaid programs. Among the improvements cited by studies are: greater use of primary care more preventive health visits more behavioral health care shorter hospital stays fewer avoidable hospital admissions reduced access problems reduced reliance on hospital ERs as a primary source of care improved monitoring and compliance rates for patients with diabetes and hypertension higher rates of screening for prostate cancer and Pap smears In addition, hospitals provided less uncompensated care and had better margins. Learn more in the Health Affairs study “The Effects Of Medicaid Expansion Under The ACA:  A … Read More

Posted in Affordable Care Act, Federal Medicaid issues

Hospitals, Others Oppose Easing Medicaid Access Requirements

Hospital groups and other health care interest organizations have expressed strong opposition to a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposal to ease requirements that states ensure adequate access to care for their Medicaid population. Under current federal Medicaid law, states must periodically review their Medicaid provider networks to ensure that Medicaid recipients have adequate access to care.  Under a March CMS proposal, that requirement would exempt states from performing such reviews if at least 85 percent of their Medicaid population is enrolled in a managed care plan and similarly exempt them from reviewing the impact on their provider networks of rate cuts of less than four percent during a single state fiscal year or six percent over two consecutive … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues

CMS Rejects Bid to Impose Lifetime Limit on Medicaid Services

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has denied a request from the state of Kansas to impose a lifetime limit on the Medicaid benefits individuals may receive. In a move that the agency appeared to signal last week and that appears to have national implications, CMS administrator Seema Verma explained that  We have determined that we will not approve Kansas’ recent request to place a lifetime limit on Medicaid benefits for some beneficiaries…We seek to create a pathway out of poverty, but we also understand that people’s circumstances change, and we must ensure that our programs are sustainable and available to them when they need and qualify for them. Medicaid advocates feared that benefit limits would follow in the … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

A Look at Medicaid Managed Care

With 74 million people enrolled in Medicaid managed care plans – roughly 71 percent of the U.S. Medicaid population – the Health Affairs Blog has taken a broad look at Medicaid managed care, addressing the question of how it works, whether it’s working, and what its future may be. The two-part report notes that some Medicaid managed care companies are highly profitable and that this profitability has increased in recent years.  It also notes that the manner in which these companies serve their members varies greatly, that their medical loss ratios vary considerably from state to state, and that the reserves managed care companies hold vary greatly as well. In addition, the two-part report seeks answers to a number of … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Pennsylvania Medicaid policy

MACPAC Meets

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, a non-partisan legislative branch agency that advises Congress, the administration, and the states on Medicaid and CHIP issues, met publicly in Washington, D.C. last week. The following is MACPAC’s own summary of its two days of meetings. The April 2018 meeting began with session on social determinants of health. Panelists Jocelyn Guyer of Manatt Health Solutions, Arlene Ash of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Kevin Moore of UnitedHealthcare Community & State discussed state approaches to financing social interventions through Medicaid. In its second morning session, the Commission reviewed a draft chapter of the June 2018 Report to Congress on Medicaid and CHIP on the adequacy of the care delivery system … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Medicaid supplemental payments

Court Rebuffs CMS on Medicaid DSH

A federal court has rejected the manner in which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services collects certain Medicaid data from states in a ruling that has potential implications for eligible hospitals’ Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments (Medicaid DSH). In a case that challenged how CMS told hospitals to report third-party payments for Medicaid patients, the court ruled against CMS in two different ways:  first, it found that CMS had not interpreted a 2003 law in a manner consistent with congressional intent; and second, it ruled that CMS could not clarify its interpretation through a published FAQ rather than through regulations. As a result of the ruling, some hospitals may get extra room under their hospital-specific Medicaid DSH limit.  For … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Medicaid supplemental payments

MACPAC Issues Annual Report, Recommendations to Congress

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission has published its annual report and recommendations to Congress. MACPAC’s report addresses three primary areas:  Medicaid managed care, telehealth, and Medicaid disproportionate share payments (Medicaid DSH). With 80 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries now enrolled in managed care plans, MACPAC offers three major recommendations for improving Medicaid managed care efforts: permit states to require all of their Medicaid beneficiaries to enroll in a managed care plan extend Medicaid managed care section 1915(b) waivers from two to five years permit states to obtain waivers to waive freedom of choice and selective contracting restrictions MACPAC notes the growing use of telehealth by state Medicaid programs and encourages states to continue this expansion while learning more … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

Addressing Socio-Economic Challenges Through Medicaid Payment Policies

Amid the growing awareness of the impact of social factors on health, policy-makers are increasingly interested in finding ways to address those factors through state Medicaid programs. In a new blog post, the journal Health Affairs offers six ways for states to address social determinants of health through Medicaid managed care programs. classify certain social services as covered benefits under the state’s Medicaid plan explore additional flexibility afforded states through section 1115 waivers use value-based payments to support investment in social interventions use incentives and withholds to encourage plan investment in social interventions integrate efforts to address social issues into quality improvement activities reward plans with effective investments in social interventions with higher rates Learn more about how states can … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues

New Report Details Key Health Care Provisions in February Budget Bill

The Congressional Research Service has published a new report describing the health care-related provisions in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 that Congress passed last month to fund the federal government. A major part of that law was the Advancing Chronic Care, Extenders, and Social Services (ACCESS) Act, and the new report includes descriptions of the Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, public health, and other health care aspects of the law. Go here to find the Congressional Research Service report Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-123): Brief Summary of Division E—The Advancing Chronic Care, Extenders, and Social Services (ACCESS) Act.

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Medicare
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