State innovation waivers debated in Senate talks
State innovation waivers have been a sticking point in Senate HELP Committee talks about ACA stabilization. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has discussed significant changes to the waivers to make it easier for states to opt out of certain consumer protections and benefits under the ACA. Committee hearings have focused only on minor changes to the waiver process so far, but Alexander has said Democrats will need to make concessions in order for Republicans to fund CSRs, which could mean significant changes to the requirements that prevent states from removing consumer protections.
Unclear if Cassidy-Graham bill will pick up steam
Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) are taking up a last ditch effort to repeal the ACA. A summary draft of the bill shows the legislation aims to provide equal federal funding for states that expanded Medicaid and those that did not, which was a substantial issue for some Senators when it came to their support for previous repeal efforts. The bill also provides federal money to states to implement their own health care plan as opposed to one system for all 50 states that exists under the ACA. Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) have come out in strong opposition to the Cassidy-Graham bill, which faces a procedural deadline of September 30.
Cory Booker is the latest Democrat to back Sander’s single-payer bill
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) joins Democratic colleagues Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as the latest high-profile Democrat to get behind the single-payer health care bill from Sen. Bernie Sanders dubbed ‘Medicare for all,’ which Sanders plans to introduce tomorrow. All three have been rumored as potential 2020 Presidential candidates, which could elevate the concept of single-payer care. A single-payer plan would require substantial changes to the health care system, which could include upending arrangements for employer-sponsored insurance coverage or changing the payment structure for drugmakers and providers.
Navigator groups are suspending education and outreach programs
Many navigator programs have yet to receive contracts from HHS that would fund them for the upcoming enrollment period, causing many to suspend operations or shut down for good. During the 2017 open enrollment period, navigators enrolled more than 80,000 individuals, and experts believe that enrollment in ACA plans will decline without their help. Open enrollment begins on November 1.
New York’s Medicaid Program paid providers not complying with rules
A report from the Office of the Inspector General shows a large number of long-term care providers in New York failed to document patient assessments, provide community-based services or provide written care plans to patients, which are all required by the state. Despite these violations, New York state paid the long-term care providers more than $1 billion in Medicaid funds. The state could have recouped the money, but it did not include language in the contracts to recover payments. New York Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson says that the state is taking measures to improve its monitoring of care providers.