Debra Miller

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Open enrollment for health insurance policies sold under the Affordable Care Act marketplaces ran for 6 weeks the end of 2017. Enrollment was down from 2017 – by 3.7 percent – but nonetheless 11,760,533 Americans selected a health insurance plan for 2018.

Read about top health issues facing states in 2018. Medicaid expenditures are 30 percent of states general fund budgets and states are looking for ways to cut costs. The opioid epidemic shows no signs of letting up, increasing the need for treatment, harm reduction programs and prevention. Questions of how to provide health service to the growing aging population and rural populations are top-of-mind in many states. Finally, state policymakers are beginning to look at the social determinants of health, searching for strategies that are more preventive in nature.

According to The Hill, the Senate measure approved earlier today, Jan. 22, included six years funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program, also know as CHIP.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program – also known as CHIP – has figured prominently in the deliberations on keeping the federal government open. Reporting today by Governing magazine says that the details of the vote later today have not been made public, so the fate of the six-year funding appropriation for CHIP that was included in the House continuing resolution is unclear.

Yesterday, federal officials issued new guidance that will support “state efforts to improve Medicaid enrollee health outcomes by incentivizing community engagement among able-bodied, working-age Medicaid beneficiaries.” A number of Section 1115 waiver applications currently before the Department for Health and Human Services would impose work requirements in one way or another are expected to be approved under the new policy.

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.

The Council of State Governments will release a new report, "Diabetes in the United States: Examining Growth Trends, State Funding Sources and Economic Impact", on state spending for diabetes at the 2017 CSG National Conference in Las Vegas on Dec. 15. Click here for press release. 

CSG, with assistance from the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, surveyed all 50 states to discover how many states...

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.

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.

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