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CMS Reinforces Need for Budget Neutrality in Medicaid Waivers

States that seek federal waivers for permission to employ new approaches to serving their Medicaid population will have to pass more rigorous tests to ensure that those new approaches are budget-neutral, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced. In a detailed letter to state Medicaid directors, CMS outlines some of the current methodologies employed by states to demonstrate the budget neutrality of their waiver requests and details instances in which it will judge those methodologies differently in the future.  A news release accompanying the letter explains that ….this letter marks the first time that CMS has formally outlined [&hellip

Medicaid Expansion Helping Diabetics

The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion has led to a 40 percent increase in the number of prescriptions for diabetes medicine filled in the 30 states that expanded their Medicaid programs. Meanwhile, there was no change in the number of diabetes-related prescriptions filled in states that did not expand their Medicaid programs. This is considered important because it suggests that many low-income people who either could not afford their diabetes medicine or whose illness was undiagnosed are now being treated for the disease – a significant development because every diabetic who is treated for the condition represents a cost savings [&hellip

Battle Over Medicaid Work Requirements Not Over

The Secretary of Health and Human Services is not accepting a recent federal court ruling as the final word on Medicaid work requirements. Although the court ruled against a federally approved plan to permit the state of Kentucky to implement a work requirement for some able-bodied Medicaid recipients, HHS Secretary Alex Azar insists that his department will continue to support work requirements for Medicaid beneficiaries. Azar told a Heritage Foundation audience that We suffered one blow in district court in litigation, but we are undeterred.  We’re proceeding forward…We’re fully committed to work requirements and community participation in the Medicaid program…we [&hellip

GAO Looks at Medicaid Managed Care Spending

The federal government should do more to help states ensure the accuracy and integrity of their payments to Medicaid managed care organizations and the payments those Medicaid managed care organizations make to health care providers. This is the conclusion reached in a new study of Medicaid managed care performed by the U.S. Government Accountability Office at the request of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. The GAO study identified six payment risks among various transactions between state governments, Medicaid managed care organizations, and health care providers.  The two biggest risks, the [&hellip

Pay Raise Didn’t Lead More Docs to Participate in Medicaid

The temporary rate increase that the Affordable Care Act provided as means of encouraging more doctors to serve Medicaid patients did not work, according to two new studies published in the journal Health Affairs. According to the studies, the increase in the number of physicians who decided to begin serving Medicaid patients as a result of the fee increase was negligible. Among the reasons the studies’ authors offer for the lack of growth in the participation of doctors are the limited nature of the pay raise and the documentation required to receive it. Despite this, the authors note, access to [&hellip

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