What’s New In Medicaid Today

[Updated at 1:12 p.m.]

Hello dear readers. For those of you just joining us, this is a very new blog and we are still exploring different content options. Today we are going to try out a new feature, “What’s New in Medicaid Today.” We can’t promise yet that you will see this daily, but if you do find it helpful, comment, and you may just convince us to make this a regular routine. Thanks for reading!

  • Yesterday’s big/huge/wow announcement from HHS has these Editors wondering about the future of fee-for-service payments in general, and in particular, in the Medicaid program.  Could a similar announcement be coming down the pipeline that would direct the Agency to shift more attention to alternative payment arrangements in Medicaid? We tend to think that the dramatic growth in managed care in recent years likely services as a temper on any major action, but we wait with baited breath to see if anything does come down.  Of course, you dear readers, will be the first (or second) to know.
  • A letter to the editor published in the Washington Post today sheds light on a battle that is emerging in Maryland, where newly elected Republican Governor Larry Hogan has released a proposed budget with cuts to Medicaid payments to providers.  The cuts, amounting to nearly $160 million annually, have already drawn criticism from providers around the state, who argue lower rates mean they are unlikely to see Medicaid patients.  To be fair to Hogan, these cuts actually originated with his Democratic predecessor, Martin O’Malley.  If we take a quick step back in history, in 2012 O’Malley increased Medicaid payment rates to be on par with Medicaid payment rates, in an effort to increase physician participation in the Medicaid program.  In an effort to leave office with less debt on the table, in early January O’Malley proposed a budget, later enacted by the state’s Board of Public Works, which proposed large cuts to the state’s budget, including bringing back down Medicaid payments to physicians.  Hogan has simply continued these cuts.  These are some reasons for advocates in the state to be concerned – the Medicaid expansion means a large number of new Medicaid beneficiaries in the state that will need primary care access, and cuts to providers seems to go against this increase in demand.  We will continue to watch and, of course, continue to report.
  • [Update as of 1:12 pm.] And in more big news, CMS today announced that it has reached an agreement with Indiana to expand Medicaid in that state to individuals earning less than 138% of the Federal Poverty Level. Details are here.

We will continue to watch and, of course, continue to report. Remember, comments are always appreciated.

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