Noteworthy News

Archive for March, 2016


Medicaid Expansion Would Help With Behavioral Health

If the 20 states that have not expanded their Medicaid programs were to do so, an estimated 1.9 million Americans with behavioral health problems would have access to care they currently do not receive. This is the conclusion of a new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). According to the ASPE report “Benefits of Medicaid Expansion for Behavioral Health,” 1.9 million low-income, uninsured people in non-Medicaid expansion states currently suffer from a substance use disorder or mental illness. If their states expanded their Medicaid programs they would have access [&hellip

Tracking Medicare Disparities

Tracking disparities in medical conditions and outcomes will be easier with the help of a new “Mapping Medicare Disparities Tool” created by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Office of Minority Health. The new disparities tool identifies disparities in utilization, outcomes, and spending by race, ethnicity, and geographic location. It tracks 18 chronic medical conditions along with ER use, readmissions, and other measures, providing data according to state, county, gender, age, dual eligibility status, race, and ethnicity. To learn more about the Mapping Medicare Disparities Tool, go here to see a CMS news release describing the tool and go here to see and [&hellip

Beware Medicaid Block Grants, Analysis Suggests

When the federal government turns housing, health, and social services programs into block grants, funding for such programs erodes over time, according to a new analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The study found that Policymakers advancing these proposals often accompany them… with assurances that the new block grant would get the same overall amount of funding as currently goes to the individual programs that it would replace.  This new analysis of several decades of budget data strongly suggests, however, that even if a new block grant’s funding in its initial year matched the prior funding for [&hellip

Traditional vs. Section 1115 Medicaid Expansion

While most states that took advantage of the Affordable Care Act to expand their Medicaid programs did so simply by expanding the population eligible to participate in the program, some expanded through the use of what are known as section 1115 waivers, which are defined as “experimental, pilot, or demonstration projects that promote the objectives of the Medicaid and CHIP programs.” Most of those waivers involve the use of new delivery systems, such as greater use of managed care, and six states implemented their Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion through section 1115 waivers. Why the alternative approach? While for some [&hellip

States Seeking Job Search as Condition for Medicaid Expansion

A number of states that have resisted expanding their Medicaid programs are now attempting to do so by linking expansion to requiring new participants to enroll in job search and training programs. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which must approve Medicaid expansion plans, has rejected proposals from Indiana, Montana, and New Hampshire that had such requirements and is currently reviewing a similar proposal from Arkansas. Arkansas already has expanded its Medicaid program but is threatening to drop its expansion unless CMS permits it to modify its current approach. CMS does not prevent states from incorporating job search and [&hellip

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