August 30, 2017, Health Affairs Blog, Jessica Greene- To make the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion more politically palatable, a number of conservative states have used 1115 Medicaid demonstration waivers to implement personal responsibility focused policies. These waivers have been used, for example, to charge Medicaid recipients premiums and to institute cost sharing above statutory limits. Under the Obama administration, four states applied for waivers to integrate work requirements into their Medicaid programs, arguing work requirements would help recipients move out of poverty and gain access to private coverage. The Obama administration denied these requests because they argued work requirements could “undermine access…and do not support the objectives of the Medicaid program.”
August 31, 2017, Health Payer Intelligence, Thomas Beaton- Public records documenting he Mississippi Division of Medicaid’s actions leading up to its award of a $2 billion contract remain shielded from public view. The judge who will decide whether Medicaid acted appropriately in awarding the managed care contract first ordered no more evidence be presented in the case without his written approval.Then, on the request of Medicaid and one company who won the contract, Hinds County Chancery Court Judge William Singletary temporarily sealed the stack of public records attorneys said would show Medicaid Director David Dzielak violated conflict of interest laws.
August 31, 2017, The NewYork Times, Abby Goodnough and Robert Pear- The Trump administration is slashing spending on advertising and promotion for enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, a move some critics charged was a blatant attempt to sabotage the law.Officials with the Department of Health and Human Services, who insisted on not being identified during a conference call with reporters, said on Thursday that the advertising budget for the open enrollment period that starts in November would be cut to $10 million, compared with $100 million spent by the Obama administration last year, a drop of 90 percent. Additionally, grants to about 100 nonprofit groups, known as navigators, that help people enroll in health plans offered by the insurance marketplaces will be cut to a total of $36 million, from about $63 million.
August 31, 2017, Modern Healthcare, Shelby Livingston- The CMS said it will spend $10 million on marketing and outreach for the 2018 Affordable Care Act open enrollment period beginning Nov. 1- a fraction of the $100 million that the Obama administration budgeted last year. The agency said the new budget is in line with spending on outreach for Medicare Advantage and Part D programs. The CMS is also planning to cut funds for “navigators,” which help enroll consumers in the ACA exchanges. Funding for navigators, which received $62.5 million in grants last year, will be tied to how well they met enrollment goals last year.
August 31, 2017, Politico, Carla Marinucci- California’s junior senator, Kamala Harris, on Wednesday departed from the position held by the state’s senior senator, Dianne Feinstein, and announced her intention to co-sponsor Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All’’ bill.To the delight of a hometown crowd at a packed town hall meeting Wednesday in Oakland - where she was raised - Harris announced for the first time that she intends to co-sponsor “Medicare for All,’’ a single-payer health care bill that has the strong support of progressives and groups including National Nurses United, saying it is “the right thing to do.”
September 1, 2017, Daily Journal, Bobby Harrison- Among the most combustible claims made by Mississippi True, a coalition of state hospitals formed to try to garner a portion of multi-billion dollar managed care contracts from the Division of Medicaid, is that Medicaid Executive Director David Dzielak had a conflict of interest in awarding the contracts. Mississippi True is composed of more than 60 state hospitals.In an August public forum in Tupelo, Bruce Toppin, vice president and general counsel, said North Mississippi Health Services didn’t join Mississippi True because it was involved in a dispute with United Healthcare at the time and wanted to avoid accusations that the Tupelo-based medical center was seeking a competitive advantage over United Healthcare as the insurer was seeking to renew its managed care contract with the Division of Medicaid.