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Medicare Watch

Trump Administration Issues Important Guidance Around Telehealth and Nursing Home Waivers

Medicare generally only covers telehealth in limited situations and for certain beneficiaries. However, recent legislation allows the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to temporarily expand telehealth coverage and access, in part by waiving some of Medicare’s rules, such as originating site and geographic restrictions, during the coronavirus public health emergency. On March 17, HHS released guidance, including a fact sheet and FAQs, implementing this policy and appropriately applying it to all Medicare-approved telehealth services.

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Supreme Court Likely to Hear Affordable Care Act Case This Year

In an important decision that could impact the health care of millions of people, the Supreme Court decided this week that it will consider the latest Affordable Care Act (ACA) case in its next term. This decision to hear the case follows a January decision not to take a fast-track approach to the lawsuit. Though the timeline for the hearings has not been set, the court is likely to hear oral arguments this fall, possibly as early as October. A decision on the case would not be likely before 2021.

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Trump Administration Officially Begins Enforcement of its “Public Charge” Immigration Rule

In January, the Supreme Court lifted a temporary injunction that had been blocking the Trump administration’s “public charge” immigration rule. That meant the policy could move forward in every state except Illinois, where a separate injunction was holding up the rule until Friday, when the Supreme Court struck it down as well. That decision cleared the way for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement the policy nationwide. DHS officially began enforcement on Monday, February 24.

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The Rise of Unexpected Medical Bills: Short-Term Plans and Surprise Billing

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society released new research this week verifying concerns that people who buy short-term insurance, also called short-term limited duration insurance or STLDI, a type of substandard health plan that has been promoted by the Trump administration, are at significant financial risk should they need to use that coverage.

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Health Policy Choices at the State Level Have Huge Impact on Resident Access to Care

While coverage and access to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual marketplaces are rooted in federal law, both programs are also shaped by policy choices at the state level. These decisions can be influenced by state demographics, budgets, and ideologies or politics. The resulting laws and guidance can greatly affect whether older adults or people with disabilities have access to the care they need to live healthy, independent lives.

Read More »

Federal Appeals Court Rules Against Medicaid Work Requirements in Arkansas

In another setback for the Trump administration’s plan for the Medicaid program, a federal appeals court ruled last week that Arkansas cannot impose onerous work and reporting requirements on Medicaid recipients as a condition of receiving coverage. In its decision, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals unanimously rejected the administration’s claim that work requirements promote a primary objective of Medicaid.

Read More »

CMS Proposes to Curtail Deceptive Medicare Advantage Plans

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency that oversees the Medicare program, recently proposed a rule to help deter Medicare Advantage (MA) plans from deceptively targeting people who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. If the proposals go into effect, dual eligibles could face less confusion in plan selection and may be less likely to enroll in a plan that does not meet their needs.

Read More »

President’s Budget Again Takes Aim at Key Health Care Programs

On Monday, President Trump submitted his annual budget request to Congress. The administration’s plan includes legislative proposals and detailed funding recommendations for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21). While the president’s budget request is not binding on Congress and does not directly lead to any program or funding changes, it is an important policy document that clearly articulates the administration’s goals and values. Again this year, President Trump’s budget prioritizes deep cuts to programs on which older adults and people with disabilities rely, including Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Read More »

Trump Administration Issues Important Guidance Around Telehealth and Nursing Home Waivers

Medicare generally only covers telehealth in limited situations and for certain beneficiaries. However, recent legislation allows the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to temporarily expand telehealth coverage and access, in part by waiving some of Medicare’s rules, such as originating site and geographic restrictions, during the coronavirus public health emergency. On March 17, HHS released guidance, including a fact sheet and FAQs, implementing this policy and appropriately applying it to all Medicare-approved telehealth services.

Supreme Court Likely to Hear Affordable Care Act Case This Year

In an important decision that could impact the health care of millions of people, the Supreme Court decided this week that it will consider the latest Affordable Care Act (ACA) case in its next term. This decision to hear the case follows a January decision not to take a fast-track approach to the lawsuit. Though the timeline for the hearings has not been set, the court is likely to hear oral arguments this fall, possibly as early as October. A decision on the case would not be likely before 2021.

Trump Administration Officially Begins Enforcement of its “Public Charge” Immigration Rule

In January, the Supreme Court lifted a temporary injunction that had been blocking the Trump administration’s “public charge” immigration rule. That meant the policy could move forward in every state except Illinois, where a separate injunction was holding up the rule until Friday, when the Supreme Court struck it down as well. That decision cleared the way for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement the policy nationwide. DHS officially began enforcement on Monday, February 24.

The Rise of Unexpected Medical Bills: Short-Term Plans and Surprise Billing

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society released new research this week verifying concerns that people who buy short-term insurance, also called short-term limited duration insurance or STLDI, a type of substandard health plan that has been promoted by the Trump administration, are at significant financial risk should they need to use that coverage.

Health Policy Choices at the State Level Have Huge Impact on Resident Access to Care

While coverage and access to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual marketplaces are rooted in federal law, both programs are also shaped by policy choices at the state level. These decisions can be influenced by state demographics, budgets, and ideologies or politics. The resulting laws and guidance can greatly affect whether older adults or people with disabilities have access to the care they need to live healthy, independent lives.

Federal Appeals Court Rules Against Medicaid Work Requirements in Arkansas

In another setback for the Trump administration’s plan for the Medicaid program, a federal appeals court ruled last week that Arkansas cannot impose onerous work and reporting requirements on Medicaid recipients as a condition of receiving coverage. In its decision, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals unanimously rejected the administration’s claim that work requirements promote a primary objective of Medicaid.

CMS Proposes to Curtail Deceptive Medicare Advantage Plans

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency that oversees the Medicare program, recently proposed a rule to help deter Medicare Advantage (MA) plans from deceptively targeting people who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. If the proposals go into effect, dual eligibles could face less confusion in plan selection and may be less likely to enroll in a plan that does not meet their needs.

President’s Budget Again Takes Aim at Key Health Care Programs

On Monday, President Trump submitted his annual budget request to Congress. The administration’s plan includes legislative proposals and detailed funding recommendations for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21). While the president’s budget request is not binding on Congress and does not directly lead to any program or funding changes, it is an important policy document that clearly articulates the administration’s goals and values. Again this year, President Trump’s budget prioritizes deep cuts to programs on which older adults and people with disabilities rely, including Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).