The CMS is ratcheting up scrutiny of state Medicaid programs.
The agency announced Tuesday that it is boosting audits to confirm that Medicaid beneficiaries are correctly identified as expansion or pre-expansion enrollees. States receive higher federal match rates of around 90% for expansion enrollees, while the match rate can be as low as 50% for pre-expansion enrollees.
. . .
The Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce would like to get back into the health insurance business.
Such a move became more likely Tuesday when the Trump administration announced a rule that would let small businesses or associated groups band together to purchase what are known as association health plans. The U.S. Department of Labor said the move will enable groups that share a commonality — such as an industry or geographic location — to obtain more affordable coverage.
. . .
This year will be the last in which uninsured Americans are forced to pay ObamaCare’s penalty for lack of coverage. The change—part of the GOP’s tax reform—comes as relief on the demand side of health insurance. Yet nothing has changed on the market’s supply side. Without additional reforms to ObamaCare’s restrictions on insurers, millions of Americans will continue to choose from a limited range of lackluster plans.
. . .
The Affordable Care Act’s regime of regulations, penalties, mandates and subsidies has accomplished a remarkable feat: It has produced unaffordable insurance coverage that often doesn’t finance care for those who need it most.
The federal government should therefore give states flexibility to permit the sale of alternative policies.
. . .
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) on Friday signed a bill to impose controversial work requirements on Medicaid recipients.
If the plan is approved by the Trump administration, Michigan would become the fifth state to add work mandates to its program.
In January, Trump officials released their guidelines for work requirements on Medicaid, a move that has drawn a sharp outcry from Democrats, who say the change will lead to people losing health coverage.
. . .
Why it matters: Health care costs are one of the top issues voters say they care about, but any plan to address them would likely need to be bipartisan.
Even in today’s highly partisan environment, there’s one thing nearly all Americans agree on: The soaring cost of prescription drugs is alarming.
In fact, 80 percent of Americans consider the cost of prescription drugs unreasonable. At the same time, a majority of Americans recognize that prescription drugs have improved countless lives. The president’s recently unveiled comprehensive blueprint to lower prescription drug costs has many ideas worthy of exploration. However, if we truly want to reduce costs and make life-changing and life-saving medications accessible to all Americans, we must increase competition among prescription drugs — particularly new drugs that have the ability to cure diseases, but face limited competition.
. . .
Obamacare premiums are once again poised to spike by double digits in 2019, causing heartburn for politicians as voters will head to the polls within days of learning about the looming hit to their pocketbooks.
But unlike recent campaign cycles, when Republicans capitalized on Obamacare sticker shock to help propel them to control of Congress and the White House, they’re now likely to be the ones feeling the wrath of voters.
. . .
Congressional Republicans, who ran against Obamacare through four election cycles, have spent most of the past year running away from it. But they are finding the law hard to escape.
Democrats who once shied away from Obamacare now can’t stop talking about it. They are blaming Republicans for the next round of premium increases that will become finalized in the weeks leading up to the November elections.
. . .
The Center for American Progress recently released a study criticizing a Health Policy Consensus Group proposal to reduce premiums and increase choices for the millions of families and small businesses who are forced to choose between remaining uninsured or buying expensive Obamacare policies.
The proposal, dubbed the Health Care Choices Proposal, would replace Obamacare individual entitlements with grants to states. States would be required to use their federal grants to establish programs that subsidize premiums for low-income residents and that reduce premiums by assuring that the sick receive the assistance they need without saddling the healthy with unaffordable premiums.
. . .