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Medicare Watch

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.

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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.

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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).

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Social Security Rule Change Would Harm Older Adults with Disabling Conditions

Last week, the Medicare Rights Center submitted comments in opposition to a proposed rule from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that would harm people with disabilities, especially people who are approaching age 65. The proposal would make the current problems in the SSA determination and review system even worse and put up additional barriers to people who already spend years trying to access the benefits they need because of their physical or mental conditions.

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Block Grants Cut Medicaid and Put Millions at Risk

Today, the Trump administration released guidance to help states convert some of their federal Medicaid funding into a block grant. In exchange for accepting this capped funding, states will receive more power to cut care and restrict coverage.

This new structure, billed as a voluntary demonstration for states, can apply to funding for optional Medicaid populations: low-income adults under the age of 65 who wouldn’t otherwise be eligible for the program. This includes adults in the Medicaid expansion population, though non-expansion states that voluntarily cover other adults—such as low-income parents with incomes above the traditional Medicaid threshold and adults with dependent children—may also participate.

Read More »

Kaiser Family Foundation Compares Proposals Intended to Lower Prescription Drug Costs

Last month, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) released a series of charts that explain and compare various legislative proposals to lower prescription drug costs. Such proposals are in the limelight because many Americans identify drug pricing as a significant problem and support government action to address it. According to one KFF poll, high drug costs have kept 30% of Americans from taking their medicine as prescribed.

Read More »

Supreme Court Declines to Fast-Track Latest Challenge to the Affordable Care Act

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court declined to fast-track the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This decision not to expedite review comes after a federal appeals court last month agreed with a federal judge in Texas that the ACA’s individual mandate is unconstitutional, but declined to say how much of the law should fall as a result. Instead, the appeals court sent the case back to the Texas court to reconsider that question—a process that could take months if not years.

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.

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).

Social Security Rule Change Would Harm Older Adults with Disabling Conditions

Last week, the Medicare Rights Center submitted comments in opposition to a proposed rule from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that would harm people with disabilities, especially people who are approaching age 65. The proposal would make the current problems in the SSA determination and review system even worse and put up additional barriers to people who already spend years trying to access the benefits they need because of their physical or mental conditions.

Block Grants Cut Medicaid and Put Millions at Risk

Today, the Trump administration released guidance to help states convert some of their federal Medicaid funding into a block grant. In exchange for accepting this capped funding, states will receive more power to cut care and restrict coverage.

This new structure, billed as a voluntary demonstration for states, can apply to funding for optional Medicaid populations: low-income adults under the age of 65 who wouldn’t otherwise be eligible for the program. This includes adults in the Medicaid expansion population, though non-expansion states that voluntarily cover other adults—such as low-income parents with incomes above the traditional Medicaid threshold and adults with dependent children—may also participate.

Kaiser Family Foundation Compares Proposals Intended to Lower Prescription Drug Costs

Last month, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) released a series of charts that explain and compare various legislative proposals to lower prescription drug costs. Such proposals are in the limelight because many Americans identify drug pricing as a significant problem and support government action to address it. According to one KFF poll, high drug costs have kept 30% of Americans from taking their medicine as prescribed.

Supreme Court Declines to Fast-Track Latest Challenge to the Affordable Care Act

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court declined to fast-track the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This decision not to expedite review comes after a federal appeals court last month agreed with a federal judge in Texas that the ACA’s individual mandate is unconstitutional, but declined to say how much of the law should fall as a result. Instead, the appeals court sent the case back to the Texas court to reconsider that question—a process that could take months if not years.