States that have expanded Medicaid have seen strong gains in coverage and better access to care without having to sacrifice other social programs, new research has found.
But that may not last long.
An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found the 33 states that expanded their Medicaid program to 133% of the poverty line saw a 7.4% decrease in the uninsured rate from 2013 to 2017 compared to a 2.7% drop to those that didn’t.
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to “wind down” support for the federal exchanges by the time open enrollment hits in 2019 and shift funding to states.
For that strategy to work, the agency is relying on Congress to do something it failed to do several times last year: Pass an ACA repeal.
CMS detailed its plan in a fiscal year 2019 budget justification (PDF) released this week that outlines a $403 million cut to its program operations budget next year. With less funding to oversee the federal exchanges for plan year 2020, CMS would dole out grants that allow states to “assume more control of their markets and expand enrollment options.”
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Though much of the discussion during Alex Azar’s confirmation hearing for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services centered on his ties to the pharmaceutical industry, a Senate panel also grilled Azar on payment reforms, the Affordable Care Act and electronic health records.
The Maryland Health Care Commission has launched a new online pricing tool that allows state residents to compare the costs of several common procedures.
The “Wear the Cost” initiative provides prices from hospitals in the state for hip replacements, knee replacements, hysterectomies and vaginal births. The calculations are based on commercial insurer data from 2014 and 2015. Development support on the project was provided by the Altarum Institute.
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President Donald Trump has reiterated on several recent occasions that the effort to repeal and replace the ACA is far from over. Whether Republicans will hold another vote before the August recess, or even before the end of the year, remains uncertain.
For this second attempt at reform to succeed, the GOP needs to get back to the market- and patient-centered basics it’s spent years trumpeting to the public—and thereby lay the foundation for a competitive health insurance marketplace that offers affordable, quality care to all Americans.
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