As Block Grants Resurface, Does CMS have the Authority?

A recent news article suggests that Trump Administration officials are considering allowing states to receive their Medicaid funding through a block grant.  The article did not specify how CMS would accomplish such a goal without a statutory change.  Details are supposedly being developed, but until we see those details, it’s hard to know exactly what the agency is considering.

My colleagues and I at the Medicaid and the Law Blog thought it might be helpful to provide some background on the concept of block grants in Medicaid,… More

Massachusetts Seeks Bids for Rebates from Select Drug Manufacturers

In an interesting (intriguing even?) turn of events, in late December 2018 the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) announced through its public bidding site that it was seeking bids from manufacturers of select, generally high-priced outpatient drugs for supplemental rebates in MassHealth’s fee-for-service and managed care programs. While the state has before used the public bidding process successfully to negotiate supplemental rebates for the state’s Medicaid program (for example,… More

District Court Strikes Down 340B Hospital Outpatient Payment Cuts

Happy New Year! While healthcare developments have been relatively slow lately due the ongoing partial Federal shutdown, an important story did arise over the most recent Holidays. We previously wrote  about a lawsuit filed in November 2017 by a group of hospital trade associations against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) opposing a major change in Medicare reimbursement policy when 340B hospitals purchase drugs under the 340B program for use in the hospital outpatient setting.… More

MACPAC Discusses Drug Pricing and Value-based Contracting with Key Stakeholders

On December 13, 2018, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) held its December 2018 public meeting.

Dr. Paul Jeffrey, the Director of Pharmacy for MassHealth, spoke on MassHealth’s drug pricing approach, in particular with respect to a drug pipeline he described as “alarming” in terms of cost but “sensational” in terms of potential impact.  Although Dr. Jeffrey suggested that implementing a closed formulary would require waiver authority (which CMS denied Massachusetts last year),… More

Congress Not Ready To Forgive and Forget Mylan EpiPen Controversy

Despite Mylan’ $465 million settlement with the Department of Justice for overcharging Medicaid millions of dollars for its product EpiPen, Congress is not ready to let bygones be bygones.  In a display of bipartisanship, Sen. Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Wyden (D-OR) unveiled a bill (section-by-section summary) entitled “The Right Rebate Act” (RRA) on December 4, 2018 and explicitly cited the EpiPen experience as the chief motivating factor for its creation. … More

Court Case Involving Massachusetts Health Care Law Shows Relationship Between Medicare Payments and Medicaid

In 2006, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney signed Chapter 58 of the Massachusetts Acts of 2006 into law.  Chapter 58 was designed to ensure that all Massachusetts residents would have access to some form of health insurance, and it accomplished this through reforms to the individual insurance market; subsidies to purchase health insurance; and an expansion of the Massachusetts Medicaid program, known as “MassHealth.”  Many observers have suggested that the enactment of Chapter 58 in Massachusetts paved the way for enactment of the Affordable Care Act at the federal level four years later (although Governor Romney strenuously denied this during his campaign for President in 2012).… More

Medicaid: A Winner in the 2018 Midterm Elections

Despite all of the drama surrounding the 2018 midterm elections, one thing was clear: Medicaid had a big night on November 6, 2018.

In particular, the electorate in the Red states of Nebraska, Idaho, and Utah voted to expand Medicaid (i.e. extend Medicaid coverage to low-income able-bodied adults).  Although the Montana electorate rejected a ballot measure that would have permanently funded the Medicaid expansion in that state beyond 2019,… More

CMS Approves Michigan’s State Plan Amendment

In a wide-ranging speech on CMS’s efforts to lower Medicaid drug costs, Administrator Seema Verma announced yesterday that CMS has approved Michigan’s proposed state plan amendment to utilize value-based payment arrangements with drug manufacturers. With CMS’s blessing, Michigan can now enter contracts with pharmaceutical companies in which manufacturers provide the state supplemental rebates when their drugs fail to meet specified treatment benchmarks.

Michigan is the second state that has received CMS’s approval to pursue value-based purchasing agreements.… More

CMS Issues New Guidance Aimed at Addressing Care for Mental Illness

Overview

On November 13, 2018 CMS (as mandated by Congress in the 21st Century cures Act) issued a State Medicaid Director Letter providing states with guidance on both: (1) existing authority for states to provide support for adults with serious mental illness (SMI) and/or children with a serious emotional disturbance (SED); and (2) a new demonstration opportunity  to permit states to offer care for certain individuals with serious mental illness residing in Institutions for Mental Disease (IMDs).… More

Immigration and Health Care:  Some New Developments

We have written recently about the interrelationship between the Medicaid program and U.S. immigration law.  Our post generated a lot of interest and now there’s a new development to report.

On October 10, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed regulation in the Federal Register that, if finalized, may have an effect on individuals seeking admission to the United States,… More