Insurance Coverage and Medical Care

Three speakers addressed ways states are both reacting to federal efforts and leading the charge to create sound health policy in the areas of Medicaid and health insurance as well as opioid treatment. The Committee approved two policy resolutions and released CSG's 50-state survey diabetes spending.

CSG South

Part I of this SLC Special Series Report detailed many of the broader concerns that long-term care poses for Southern states, including challenging demographic shifts, deteriorating health status among key segments of the population and prohibitively high costs of various LTC services. Part II outlines the role that insurance plays in financing long-term care and reviews potential insurance-related solutions that could create more affordable care in the future for states and LTC recipients.

CSG Midwest
Minnesota has secured federal approval for its $542 million reinsurance program, which was created earlier this year via legislation (HF 5) and has been credited by officials with lowering premiums on the state’s health insurance exchange by 20 percent.
CSG Midwest
An extensive new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, “Medicaid Moving Ahead in Uncertain Times: Results from a 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey for State Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018,” provides an overview of states’ approaches to eligibility, premiums and managed care initiatives, emerging delivery system and payment reforms, long-term services and support reform, and provider rates and taxes.

On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Maine voters approved (59 percent of the vote) a ballot measure to expand Medicaid eligibility to an estimated 70,000 low-income individuals. Maine is the first state to approve Medicaid expansion through a voter referendum. It would bring the expansion total to 32 states and the District of Columbia.

Gov. Paul LePage, who has vetoed Medicaid expansion bills five times, has issued a statement saying he will not implement the measure unless the legislature fully funds it.

On November 3, the House voted to extend federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance, or CHIP, program, passing the measure with a 242-174 bipartisan vote. But the bill also must pass in the Senate before it can take effect, so many states will likely run out of money before they receive any new CHIP funds.

Today Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), spoke to the state Medicaid directors at their fall conference in Washington, D.C. She outlined her vision for the future of Medicaid and unveiled a number of new CMS policies during that speech and in this press release. She pledged to give states more freedom to design innovative programs and to remove federal impediments that stand in the way of states.

Maine voters will have a chance to vote on Nov. 7, 2017, whether to expand Medicaid coverage to an estimated 70,000 Mainers under the age of 65 with incomes below or equal to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. This is exactly the Medicaid expansion provision included in the Affordable Care Act.

In Virginia, the November ballot impact on health care is a little less direct, but is also being watched by political observers. All 100 House of Delegate seats are up for election. If the Democrats pick up a number of seats the legislature could approve Medicaid expansion, bringing health care insurance to 400,000 low income Virginians.

With insurance coverage for 8.9 million children hanging in the balance, states have been anxiously waiting to find out if federal funding will be extended for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. In early October, bills have passed out of committee in both the House and Senate to extend federal funding through 2022 for CHIP and other related programs. Both bills would extend CHIP funding and maintain the 23-percentage-point increase in the enhanced federal matching rate through FY 2019.

CSG Midwest
Some notable trends in poverty, health insurance and household income in the Midwest were revealed in recently released U.S. Census Bureau data.

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