Medicaid currently covers nearly 75 million people in the United States. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid mainly provided insurance coverage to children, pregnant women and disabled individuals. Under the ACA, states were given the option to expand the program to low-income individuals.
Sarah F. Fontenot, JD, adjunct professor for health law at Trinity University and ACHE faculty, recently shared in a post on LinkedIn that when the ACA was passed in 2010, “it was intended that all states would expand Medicaid to cover all adults and children at a set poverty level—a plan that was defeated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012. With the directive that Medicaid expansion must be optional, 24 states said ‘NO!’”
Since then, despite a Republican-led Congress that seeks to repeal the ACA, six states under GOP leadership have reversed their decision in favor of expanding and four more states have expansion back on the table for discussion. Though this would seem to contradict some states’ original response to Medicaid expansion, Fontenot points out there is a growing evidence to support that the expansion of Medicaid also improves health.
With these recent developments, what can you expect for Medicaid in 2018? In a recent white paper, Cindy Mann, JD, partner, healthcare industries, at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, indicates we will likely see more efforts to revamp and reshape the Medicaid program with states testing “the limits of their purchasing power and federal flexibility to make changes to their programs—driven by the desire to improve value, reduce the rate of expenditure growth, and shape the program to meet their policy and political objectives. At the boundaries of these federal and state efforts, expect the courts to weigh in.”
Coming up at ACHE’s Congress on Healthcare Leadership next week, Mann will be joined by Chad Austin, senior vice president, government relations, Kansas Hospital Association, for the Thursday Hot Topic Session 2, “An Uncertain Future for Medicaid and Medicare Funding.” This session is specifically designed to help attendees understand what’s ahead for the next phase of government funding for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, as well as Medicare.
Mann has more than 30 years of experience in federal and state health policy, while Austin plays a key role in advocacy to support these initiatives in his state. Both have spent their careers focused on understanding and responding to the subtle and overt changes in these critical healthcare programs.
Interested in learning more? There’s still time to register for Congress and attend this vital session.
Unable to attend? Sign up for Fontenot’s three-part ACHE webinar series “Healthcare Under the Current Administration: New Realities in 2018.” If you are unable to attend one or more of the live webinars, all sessions will be recorded for future reference.