Archive for Affordable Care Act

 

More Medicaid Matching Funds for Only Partial Medicaid Expansion?

The federal government is considering providing an unusual amount of federal Medicaid matching funding for only partial state Medicaid expansion.

At least that’s what Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator Seema Verma told a health care conference in Georgia last week.

The state of Georgia has proposes partially expanding its Medicaid population.  Under the Affordable Care Act, states that fully expand their Medicaid programs under the terms established by the 2010 health care law receive nine dollars in federal matching funds for every one dollar they spend on their Medicaid expansion population.  States that only partially expand their Medicaid programs, on the other hand, currently are eligible to receive only their usual federal matching rate:  generally one federal dollar for every state dollar, with states with higher poverty rates receiving as much as slightly more than three dollars for every state dollar they spend.

Last week, however, CMS’s Verma said that when Georgia submits its Medicaid waiver application to CMS seeking only partial expansion of its Medicaid program, the federal agency will consider providing Affordable Care Act-level Medicaid matching funds rather than the traditional federal Medicaid matching rate.

Learn more about the Georgia plan for partial Medicaid expansion and …

CMS Solicits Waiver Input From Stakeholders

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is soliciting ideas from stakeholders about new approaches that might be employed in the development of state relief and empowerment waivers, also known as section 1332 waivers.

Last year CMS loosened section 1332 waiver requirements and offered states four concepts for how to take advantage of both the waivers and the less stringent requirements.  Section 1332 waivers permit states to seek exemption from selected requirements of the Affordable Care Act to pursue new approaches to enhancing access to quality, affordable health insurance.  Through a new request for information, CMS now seeks

…to build a library of options, through more waiver concepts, so that states have additional illustrative ways to take advantage of this new flexibility.

In its RFI, the agency suggests the following possibilities:

  • Waiver concepts that states could potentially use alone or in combination with other waiver concepts, state proposals, or policy changes; 
  • Waiver concepts that could advance some or all of the principles outlined in the 1332 Guidance released in 2018; 
  • Waiver concepts that incorporate the entire range of waivable requirements allowed under section 1332; and
  • How states might combine the flexibilities available under 1332 with other flexibilities that exist under

Uninsured ED and Inpatient Visits Down Since ACA

Uninsured hospital admissions and emergency department visits are down since passage of the Affordable Care Act.

And Medicaid-covered admissions and ER visits are up, according to a new analysis.

The report, published on the JAMA Network Open, found that ER visits by uninsured patients fell from 16 percent to eight percent between 2006 and 2016, with most of this decline after 2014, while uninsured discharges fell from six percent to four percent.

The rate of uninsured ER visits declined, moreover, at a time when overall ER visits continued to rise.

While the Affordable Care Act is likely the cause of most of these changes, other contributing factors include the emergence of urgent care facilities, telemedicine, and free-standing ERs as well as new payment models and rules.

Learn more in the JAMA Network Open article “US Emergency Department Visits and Hospital Discharges Among Uninsured Patients Before and After Implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”

ACA Repeal Would Drive Up Uninsured, Uncompensated Care

At the same time that the Trump administration announced that it has asked a federal court to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act, the Urban Institute has published a report detailing the potential impact of the health care reform law’s repeal.

According to the Urban Institute report, repealing the entire Affordable Care Act would add almost 20 million Americans to the ranks of the uninsured.  Medicaid and CHIP enrollment would fall by 15.4 million people and millions of others would lose the tax credits they used to purchase insurance.  Some would purchase insurance with limited benefits and individual plan premiums would rise while others would go uninsured.

In addition, repeal of the Affordable Care Act would lead to an 82 percent increase in hospital uncompensated care, to more than $50 billion.  About half of the states would see the amount of uncompensated care provided by their hospitals double, the Urban Institute estimates.

Learn more from the Healthcare Dive article “Killing ACA would lead to huge spikes in uncompensated care” and from the Urban Institute report State-by-State Estimates of the Coverage and Funding Consequences of Full Repeal of the ACA.

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Feds Seek Input on Selling Health Insurance Across State Lines

Working to achieve an objective of reducing the cost of health insurance by encouraging the sale of health insurance policies across state lines, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has published a request for information seeking input from stakeholders and the public on how this might best be done.

According to a CMS news release, the agency seeks

… feedback on how states can take advantage of Section 1333 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which provides for the establishment of a regulatory framework that allows two or more states to enter into a Health Care Choice Compact to facilitate the sale of health insurance coverage across state lines.  CMS is primarily looking for input on how the agency can expand access to health insurance coverage across state lines, effectively operationalize the sale of health insurance coverage across state lines, and understand the financial impacts of selling health insurance coverage across state lines.

Learn more from the CMS news release and the RFI itself.…