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The Trump administration has signaled a willingness to allow states to use Section 1115 waiver authority to reshape Medicaid, with two dozen states seeking waiver provisions such as work requirements, drug screening and testing, eligibility time limits, and premiums with disenrollment for non-payment for traditional Medicaid populations. The administration has placed a special emphasis on work requirements. In another area, continuing efforts to combat the opioid epidemic have focused policymakers’ attention on Medicaid’s role in the fight. And although President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress in 2017 unsuccessfully sought to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and switch Medicaid to a system of per capita cap financing, there remains the possibility that they could rekindle their efforts to achieve these goals.
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How Do Medicaid/CHIP Children with Special Health Care Needs Differ from Those with Private Insurance?

This issue brief compares the demographics, health status, access to care, and coverage affordability of Medicaid/CHIP children with special health care needs to those with private insurance and those who are uninsured. Medicaid plays a key role for children with special health care needs by making coverage affordable and covering services that private coverage typically does not. Consequently, legislative proposals that would cap and reduce federal Medicaid funding may pose a particular risk to children with special health care needs and their providers. A companion brief describes Medicaid’s role for children with special health care needs.

Medicaid’s Role for Children with Special Health Care Needs: A Look at Eligibility, Services, and Spending

This issue brief describes the role that Medicaid plays for children with special health care needs. It explains common eligibility pathways, covered services, and program spending for these children. The Appendix includes 50-state data on the number of children with special health care needs covered by Medicaid/CHIP. A companion brief compares key characteristics of Medicaid/CHIP children with special health care needs to those covered by private insurance.

Disability and Technical Issues Were Key Barriers to Meeting Arkansas’ Medicaid Work and Reporting Requirements in 2018

This issue brief analyzes the impact of the four measures intended to safeguard coverage for people with disabilities and others who should not have been subject to the work and reporting requirements. It draws on data newly available from Arkansas’ 2018 annual waiver report to CMS and monthly data released by the state while the requirements were in effect. The data reveal that few people used these safeguard measures relative to the number of people who lost coverage due to the new requirements. Among those who accessed the safeguards, the vast majority did so due to disability/other health issues or technical issues such as those related to reporting.

From Ballot Initiative to Waivers: What is the Status of Medicaid Expansion in Utah?

The Utah legislature significantly changed and limited the Medicaid coverage expansion that was adopted by the voters through a ballot initiative in November 2018. This issue brief explains new provisions in Utah’s recently amended Section 1115 Medicaid waiver and the forthcoming amendments that the state is expected to submit to CMS, including a request for enhanced ACA federal matching funds for a partial capped expansion.

Medicaid Financing: The Basics

Medicaid represents $1 out of every $6 spent on health care in the US and is the major source of financing for states to provide coverage to meet the health and long-term care needs of their low-income residents. Medicaid is administered by states within broad federal rules and jointly funded by states and the federal government. This brief examines the following three key Medicaid financing questions: How does Medicaid financing work now?; How much does Medicaid cost and how are funds spent?; What is the role of Medicaid in federal and state budgets?

“Partial” Medicaid Expansions Could Limit States’ Spending But Cover Fewer People at a Higher Federal Cost Compared to Traditional ACA Expansions

If states were able to receive enhanced Affordable Care Act matching funds for “partial” expansions of Medicaid, fewer people would get health coverage and the federal government would spend more, compared to a traditional expansion under the law, KFF explains in a new brief. The explainer describes how a partial…

“Partial Medicaid Expansion” with ACA Enhanced Matching Funds: Implications for Financing and Coverage

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides enhanced federal matching funds to states that expand Medicaid to nonelderly adults up to 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL, $17,236/year for an individual in 2019). The ACA enhanced match (93% in 2019, and 90% in 2020 and thereafter) is substantially higher than states’ traditional Medicaid matching rate. A few states have sought Section 1115 demonstration waiver authority from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to receive the substantially higher ACA enhanced match while limiting coverage to individuals at 100% FPL, instead of covering the full 138% FPL ACA group. To date, CMS has allowed states to receive the ACA enhanced Medicaid matching funds only if the entire expansion group is covered. CMS has not approved waiver requests seeking enhanced ACA matching funds for a partial coverage expansion in Arkansas or Massachusetts, while a request is pending in Utah. This brief explores the current rules for partial expansion and explains some of the potential implications for financing and coverage if CMS approves waivers to allow for partial expansion with enhanced matching funds.

Medicaid: What to Watch in 2019 from the Administration, Congress, and the States

Medicaid, the provider of health insurance coverage for about one in five Americans and the largest payer for long-term care services in the community and nursing homes, continues to be a key part of health policy debates at the federal and state level. Important Medicaid issues to watch in 2019 include Medicaid expansion developments amid ongoing litigation about the ACA’s constitutionality as well as Medicaid demonstration waiver activities, including those focused on work requirements and other eligibility restrictions. States are also likely to continue to pursue initiatives to address the opioid crisis, and the recent passage of bi-partisan legislation with new tools and financing could bolster these efforts. Primary areas of federal policy to watch in 2019 with implications for Medicaid include the expiration of temporary funding for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands in the absence of legislative action as well as potential regulatory changes to public charge policies that would likely lead to Medicaid enrollment declines among immigrant families. Finally, reforms in benefits, payment and delivery systems continue to evolve as states and the federal government focus on managed care, social determinants of health, prescription drugs, and community based long-term care. While beyond the scope of this brief, Congress and states could also consider broader health reform that could expand the role of public programs in health care including Medicare for All or Medicaid buy-in programs that could have significant implications for Medicaid.

KFF Health Tracking Poll – November 2018: Priorities for New Congress and the Future of the ACA and Medicaid Expansion

Fielded a week after the 2018 midterm elections, this poll examines the public’s priorities for the next Congress, measures favorability for ACA provisions including Medicaid expansion, and takes a look at knowledge of the current open enrollment period among adults ages 18-64 who purchase their own insurance or are currently uninsured. With the impending Texas v. United States lawsuit, in addition to several Trump administration policy actions aimed at different aspects of the U.S. health care system, this KFF survey also examines the public’s position on pre-existing conditions protections, prescription drug advertisements, and employer exemptions from covering birth control.