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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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“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.

Public More Likely To Trust Democratic Party To Do A Better Job Dealing With Most Health Care Issues

A new analysis featuring data from the KFF Election Tracking Poll released in October 2018 finds that the public trusts the Democratic Party more than the Republican Party when it comes to dealing with health care issues, such as increasing women’s access to reproductive services, maintaining Medicaid expansion, and maintaining protections for pre-existing conditions.

KFF Election Tracking Poll: Health Care in the 2018 Midterms

In an expansive look at the 2018 midterm elections, this month’s KFF Health Tracking Poll includes an in-depth examination of the role health care may be playing in midterm elections nationally, as well as in Florida and Nevada, two bellwether states in which candidates from both parties are talking about health care issues. Health care remains a top priority for Democrats and independents, but ranks lower for Republicans, behind immigration and the economy and jobs. However, when it comes to specific health care issues, lowering health care costs and maintaining protections for pre-existing conditions have bipartisan support. In addition to exploring the role of health care issues in the election, the KFF Health Tracking Poll also finds large shares of voters say candidate characteristics, President Trump, and party control over Congress will be major factors in their voting decisions.

Federal Legislation Related to Medicaid and Opioids: What to Watch

With President Trump having declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, both the House and Senate are advancing legislation to address the crisis. A new issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation summarizes current federal legislative proposals related to Medicaid’s role in the opioid epidemic and identifies issues to…

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.