Policy Watch

Quick-hitting policy analysis, polling, and updates on the key issues facing the country.

Build Back Better Would Reduce Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) Payments and Limit Uncompensated Care (UCC) Pools in Non-Expansion States

The Build Back Better (BBB) Act proposes reducing disproportionate share hospital (DSH) allotments by 12.5% starting in federal fiscal year (FFY) 2023 and places limits on Medicaid uncompensated care (UCC) pools for non-expansion states. This policy watch explains what these payments are, what changes have been tied to the ACA, and examines potential implications of changes included in the BBB.

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Medicaid Policy Approaches to Facilitating Access to Vaccines for Low-Income Children

Following the recent US Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) authorization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation, children ages 5-11 are now eligible to receive Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. There may be unique challenges to vaccinating young children, particularly those from low-income families who may face additional barriers to access. State Medicaid programs and Medicaid managed care plans are looking at a range of policy options to facilitate access to vaccines for young, low-income children.

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Key Questions About the New COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Health Care Provider Staff

On November 5, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published regulations that establish the first ever federal vaccination requirements for health care provider staff. The new rule applies to staff who provide any care, treatment, or other services for providers or patients, including contractors and volunteers.

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Efforts to Increase Marketplace Enrollment During Open Enrollment Could Boost Medicaid Coverage, Too

As the ninth open enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplaces begins, enhanced Marketplace premium help along with increased funding for outreach and enrollment assistance mean there are more affordable coverage options for the millions of people who remain uninsured and more help available to connect those individuals to coverage.

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Federal Policy May Temporarily Close the Coverage Gap, But Long-term Coverage May Fall Back to States

Recent policy attention has focused on closing the coverage gap for roughly 2.2 million individuals living in the 12 states that have not adopted Medicaid expansion included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These individuals do not qualify for Medicaid and have incomes below poverty, making them ineligible for premium subsidies in the…

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Mixed Prospects for Vaccinating Children

In this Axios column, Drew Altman examines the data about what parents say they will do once their children ages 5-11 become eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, and why it will take some time and a concerted outreach effort to match adult vaccination rates.

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