The expansion of Medicaid to millions of uninsured people will not have the catastrophic impact some predicted for state budgets because the increases in hospital and emergency room usage are only temporary, according to a study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. The surge in hospital use, researchers noted, did not last long once people received coverage.
The CMS issued guidance on the way states pay private health plans to oversee the care of Medicaid beneficiaries. The guidance outlines data requirements states must follow to show they are meeting the statutory requirement that payments to plans are actuarially sound. Of the more than 70 million people in Medicaid, 70% are in managed-care plans for at least part of their care, according to the CMS.
Republican lawmakers in Florida and Texas who previously rejected the ACA's Medicaid expansion for adults, broadened the program this year for school-age children, reports Kaiser Health News in collaboration with USA Today. Those states were among 21 that were required to widen Medicaid eligibility for children between the ages of 6 and 18 by 2014, a provision of the health law that has helped at least 1.5 million children gain coverage under Medicaid.
Enrollment in Medicaid is surging as a result of the ACA, but the Obama administration and state officials have not done enough to ensure that new beneficiaries have access to doctors after they get their Medicaid cards, according to a report by the HHS. The report found state standards for access to care varied widely and were rarely enforced and as a result, Medicaid patients had to wait for months or travel long distances to see a doctor.
According to survey data from the research firm Perry Undem, Medicaid enrollees are generally happy to have coverage, though many are encountering roadblocks to receiving the care they want. Among survey participants in three different cities, Medicaid enrollees' experiences differed in important ways, access to care was much less of an issue in Denver, for example.
Children under 18 have had a pretty low uninsured rate over the past few years, around 7%, due to previous coverage expansions of Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. Research shows the children's uninsured rate remains unchanged in the first six months of 2014, even as the uninsured rate for adults dropped 4 percentage points, according to the Urban Institute Health Reform Monitoring survey.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe revealed his plan for a modest expansion of Medicaid which would extend coverage to about 25,000 uninsured Virginians - just one-tenth of those who would have benefited from a full expansion of the program under the ACA. McAuliffe announced more modest health measures that his administration said would expand or improve care for about 200,000 Virginians, specifically individuals with mental illnesses, low-income children, pregnant women and veterans. His plan relies heavily on help from the federal government.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is set to unveil his plan to increase healthcare coverage for the state's poor. The governor unsuccessfully tried to persuade Republican lawmakers to expand Medicaid during this year's legislative session. The impasse led to a protracted stalemate over the state budget that ended with a GOP victory. In June, McAuliffe ordered Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. William A. Hazel Jr. to present a plan no later than Sept. 1 on options the governor can exercise to expand healthcare coverage for low-income Virginians.
Only six state correctional systems have ever chosen academic health centers to provide care to their inmates, the authors say in Behind Bars: The Compelling Case for Academic Health Centers Partnering With Correctional Facilities. Positive outcomes, such as health improvements and cost reductions, in states where medical schools and departments of correction have worked together illustrate why that number should be higher.
Hospitals in states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA are experiencing significant financial benefits, according to an analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute.
Kaiser Health News reports that states and the federal government will spend at least $700 million this year to pay the tax for their Medicaid health plans. The three dozen states that use Medicaid managed care plans will give those insurers more money to cover the new expense. Many of those states, including Florida, Louisiana and Tennessee, did not expand Medicaid as the law allows, and in the process turned down billions in new federal dollars. In addition, private insurers are passing the tax onto policyholders in the form of higher premiums.