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Appeals Court Shoots Down Arkansas’ Medicaid Work Requirements In Latest Legal Blow For Trump Administration

KHN Morning Briefing

The ruling, written by a Reagan-appointed judge, upheld a lower court’s stance that Arkansas’ plan to add work requirements to its Medicaid program was “arbitrary and capricious” and failed to show how such rules would help Medicaid to meet its mission of covering the poor. The Trump administration has been encouraging states to add work requirements, but so far has come up short in the courts.

‘We’re In The Locker Room, Wondering What Happened’: N.C. Republicans Losing Ground In Medicaid Stand-Off

KHN Morning Briefing

In November, 75 days before North Carolina was set to abandon its fee-for-service Medicaid model and essentially turn the management of the $14 billion annual program to managed care companies that had been awarded contracts, the state secretary of Health and Human Services put on the brakes. Lawmakers along with the governor are trying to figure out what comes next. Medicaid news comes out of Missouri, as well.

Trump’s Proposed Budget Would Cut About A Trillion Dollars From Medicaid Programs, ACA Subsidies

KHN Morning Briefing

While President Donald Trump’s budget doesn’t offer specifics on his “health care vision,” an $844 billion mystery pot — along with other Medicaid changes — signal deep cuts to health programs. Critics were quick to challenge Trump’s promises to protect people’s coverage despite any funding cuts. “You can’t cut $1 trillion from these programs and protect the most vulnerable,” said Aviva Aron-Dine of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The budget also includes a big funding drop for CDC, a proposal to strip the FDA of its authority over tobacco products, a provision to slash funding for the agency currently working to create a coronavirus vaccine, and more.

An Arcane Rule Proposed By CMS Could Lead To Significant Medicaid Cuts, Governors Warn

KHN Morning Briefing

CMS Administrator Seema Verma said that the rule would help the agency increase “transparency, integrity and clarity,” in Medicaid funding for states. But some governors warn her that the rule could force them to seek broad tax increases, cut payments to hospitals and doctors, reduce benefits, restrict eligibility, or some combination of such measures. Medicaid news comes out of Alaska, Tennessee and Florida, as well.

Congressional Democrats Have Limited Options Of Blocking Administration’s Block Grant Medicaid Changes

KHN Morning Briefing

Any tough measures aimed at halting the Trump administration’s attempt to shift Medicaid funding into a block-grant system could imperil other bipartisan health efforts members want to pass this year. Meanwhile, because the new plan, dubbed “Healthy Adult Opportunity,” is optional for states, its impact could vary from region to region creating even more geographical health disparities in the country.

CMS Encourages States To Move To Block-Grant Funding For Medicaid While Bracing For Inevitable Court Battle

KHN Morning Briefing

CMS Administrator Seema Verma and the Trump administration rolled out the new plan on Thursday that would allow states to cap Medicaid spending for adults who were enrolled in the program under the health law expansion. The idea has been a long-held goal for Republicans, but critics say the change would jeopardize medical access and care for some of the poorest Americans.

What’s In A Name? Medicaid Block Grant Model Gets A Re-Branding, But Its Objectives Remain The Same

KHN Morning Briefing

CMS is expected to send letters to states today to encourage them to transform their Medicaid programs into a block grant model that has long been a controversial goal for conservatives. CMS Administrator Seema Verma frames the change as a way for states to invest more money into their most vulnerable population, but critics say it will lead to a loss of coverage for many who need it. Meanwhile, dozens of Democrats have warned the Trump administration that the block grants are illegal.

To Better Address Maternal Health For Medicaid Beneficiaries, Higher Reimbursements Are Needed, Experts Say

KHN Morning Briefing

Hospitals and clinical practices face financial challenges because Medicaid only pays about half of what private insurers pay for childbirth-related services. New payment models like bundled or blended payments could address the higher morbidity and mortality rates for women on Medicaid, experts say. Meanwhile, a plan to encourage states to shift their Medicaid programs to block-grant systems is expected this week.

Officials Remain Divided Over Policy, Legal Issues As Trump Administration Pushes Toward Medicaid Block Grants

KHN Morning Briefing

CMS Chief Seema Verma is finalizing a plan to allow states the flexibility to convert their Medicaid programs into block grants. While supporters of the idea say that gives states the freedom to find cost-saving measures, critics warn that it incentivizes states to cut coverage for a vulnerable population. In other Medicaid news: care coordination, coverage for kids, minimum wage increases, and managed care companies.