Noteworthy News

Archive for September, 2014


More States Consider Expanding Medicaid

Encouraged by the Obama administration’s willingness to permit states to employ a private market-based approach to expanding their Medicaid programs, a number of states that had previously rejected Medicaid expansion are now considering doing so. Among the states either pursuing such an approach or considering doing so are Indiana, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Meanwhile, if Democrats defeat Republicans in gubernatorial elections in Florida, Wisconsin, and Maine, those states are considered likely to seek to expand their Medicaid programs. Two considerations appear to be fueling this new interest in expansion in states with Republican governors:  first, those states are [&hellip

Is Education More Important to Health Than Access?

A new report suggests that education is more important to an individual’s overall health than access to health care. According to the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center on Society and Health, More education means better health – in part because more education brings better jobs, improved access to health insurance, and higher earnings that can help pay for medical expenses and a healthier lifestyle. Conversely, people with less education tend to have more challenges accessing health services – lower rates of health insurance coverage and less money to afford copayments and prescription drugs; they are also more likely to live in [&hellip

New Medicaid Enrollees Must Renew Coverage

People whose enrollment in Medicaid in the past year was made possible by Affordable Care Act eligibility expansions are required by the health care reform law to renew their eligibility annually. But many do not know this, according to focus groups performed on behalf of the Medicare and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC). As a result, some of these recipients could find themselves without coverage when they seek care in the near future – a situation that could leave some with significant medical bills while leaving providers unpaid for care they have delivered. Urban safety-net hospitals would be especially [&hellip

MACPAC Looks at Medicaid, CHIP Issues

The non-partisan federal agency charged with advising Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the states on matters involving Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) met last week in Washington, D.C. The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) addressed a number of CHIP-related issues during its September 18-19 meetings, including the future of the program, its funding, state experiences with CHIP changes, and consumer protections. MACPAC also looked at a variety of Medicaid issues, including state Medicaid expansions through premium assistance, enrollment so far in 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Medicaid [&hellip

MedPAC Looks at Short Hospital Stays

At its public meeting last week, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) looked at challenges surrounding payments to providers for short hospital stays. A presentation delivered by MedPAC’s staff looked at the profitability and growing frequency of one-night admissions; the impact of Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC audit) activities; Medicare beneficiary financial liabilities associated with observation stays; the controversial two-midnight rule; and possible ways to address these continuing problems. MedPAC did not offer any formal recommendations during the meeting. When the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed this year’s Medicare inpatient prospective payment system regulation in May, it invited [&hellip

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