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Kaiser Health Tracking Poll – February 2018: Health Care and the 2018 Midterms, Attitudes Towards Proposed Changes to Medicaid

At a time when some states are considering changes to their Medicaid programs, the February Kaiser Health Tracking Poll measures Americans’ attitudes toward Medicaid and examines views on work requirements and lifetime limits on benefits. The poll also continues to find the public leaning favorably towards the ACA, with this month marking the highest level of favorability since 2010. When asked to say in their own words what health care issue they most want 2018 midterm candidates to discuss, voters mention health care costs as their top concern.

Implications of Emerging Waivers on Streamlined Medicaid Enrollment and Renewal Processes

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) significantly modernized and streamlined Medicaid enrollment and renewal processes across all states. Through major investments of time, money, and staff, most states have implemented modernized systems that transformed lengthy, paperwork driven enrollment and renewal procedures to a simplified, technology-driven experience that minimizes burdens on individuals and states. Recently approved and proposed waivers and other proposed policies include new eligibility and enrollment requirements and restrictions that run counter to the ACA’s streamlined processes (Figure 1). This fact sheet provides an overview of how enrollment and renewal processes changed under the ACA and the implications of emerging waivers and other proposed changes on streamlined enrollment and renewal.

Approved Changes in Indiana’s Section 1115 Medicaid Waiver Extension

On February 1, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved an amended extension of Indiana’s Healthy Indiana Program 2.0 (HIP 2.0) Section 1115 demonstration waiver. Indiana’s waiver initially implemented the ACA’s Medicaid expansion from February, 2015 through January, 2018 by modifying Indiana’s pre-ACA limited coverage expansion waiver (HIP 1.0). Unlike other states that implemented the ACA’s Medicaid expansion through a waiver, Indiana’s demonstration also changes the terms of coverage for non-expansion adults (low-income parents and those eligible for Transitional Medical Assistance, TMA). The February, 2018 extension continues most components of HIP 2.0 and adds some new provisions.

A Guide to the Lawsuit Challenging CMS’s Approval of the Kentucky HEALTH Medicaid Waiver

On January 11, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a State Medicaid Director letter announcing a new policy that, for the 1st time, allows states to condition Medicaid on participation in a work or “community engagement” program. The next day, CMS approved a new Medicaid waiver in Kentucky. The waiver includes a program called Kentucky HEALTH, which encompasses a work requirement as well as coverage lockouts of up to 6 months for failure to pay monthly premiums (up to 4% of income), timely renew eligibility, or timely report a change in circumstances, among other provisions. Kentucky HEALTH applies to most nonelderly adults, including low-income parents and expansion adults. The state plans to implement Kentucky HEALTH by July, 2018. On January 24, 2018, 15 Kentucky Medicaid enrollees filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging CMS’s authority to issue the work requirement policy and approve the Kentucky waiver. This issue brief answers 5 key questions about the case.

Why Medicaid Work Requirements Aren’t the Same as Welfare Reform

Drawing on his experience in state welfare reform, Drew Altman, in his Axios column, discusses how new state Medicaid work requirements differ fundamentally from welfare reform, which was built on the idea of a “reciprocal obligation” between both beneficiaries and government to do more.  

Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services: Results From a 50-State Survey of Enrollment, Spending, and Program Policies

This report summarizes the national trends to emerge from the latest (2014) enrollment and spending data for the three main Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) programs: (1) the mandatory home health services state plan benefit, (2) the optional personal care services state plan benefit, and (3) optional § 1915 (c) HCBS waivers. It also highlights key findings on 2016 program policies, such as waiting lists, managed long-term services and supports, and provider payment rates.

Medicaid: What to Watch in 2018 from the Administration, Congress, and the States

Medicaid provides health insurance coverage for about one in five Americans and is the largest payer for long-term care services in the community and nursing homes. Efforts in 2017 to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and cap federal financing for Medicaid were unsuccessful but help to set the stage for 2018. As 2018 begins, there is a focus on administrative actions using Medicaid Section 1115 demonstration waivers, state actions on Medicaid expansion, and funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and other federal health care priorities. Medicaid in 2018 is also likely to continue to be part of both federal and state budget deliberations. Pressures to control the federal deficit may reignite efforts to reduce or cap federal Medicaid spending. In addition, Governors will soon release proposed budgets for state FY 2019 that will need to account for uncertainty around CHIP and Medicaid, changes in the economy and the effects of the recent tax legislation as well as funding for rising prescription drugs and initiatives to combat the opioid epidemic. This brief examines these issues.

Approved Changes to Medicaid in Kentucky

On January 12, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved a Section 1115 demonstration waiver in Kentucky, entitled “Kentucky Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health” or KY HEALTH. On the same day that CMS approved Kentucky’s waiver, Governor Bevin issued an executive order directing the state to terminate the Medicaid expansion if a court decides that one or more of the waiver provisions are illegal and cannot be implemented. This fact sheet summarizes key provisions of Kentucky’s approved waiver.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Headquarters: 2400 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025 | Phone 650-854-9400
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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.