In this month’s edition of Health Policy News, we highlight legislative, regulatory, and administrative developments at the federal level. Just last week, on February 20, 2018, several federal departments jointly released a proposed rule seeking to expand access to Short-Term Limited-Duration Insurance (STLDI) plans. Also, on February 9, 2018, the President signed H.R. 1892, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, the short-term spending bill that ended the most recent government shut-down, continuing funding into March, and contains several changes related to health care. This was quickly followed by the release of the administration’s budget proposal on February 12, 2018, which also includes significant proposals related to health care.
On February 5, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new funding opportunity for states: The State Flexibility to Stabilize the Market Grant Program. To help states think about the types of activities that could be funded and might be beneficial, we wrap up this month’s Health Policy News with two articles highlighting the recommended areas of focus as well as innovative activities taking place in states across the country.
Stay tuned for our March edition that will feature a special report on legislative efforts to contain prescription drug (RX) costs. We’ll also be sharing information about an upcoming webinar with PCG subject matter experts related to drafting cost containment legislation, the various approaches to tackle RX costs, and what can be done at the regulator level.
As always, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on any of these pieces.
Federal departments put out proposed rule to expand access to short-term health plans that are not ACA-compliant
On February 20, 2018, the Department of the Treasury (Treasury), the Department of Labor (DOL), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) jointly promulgated a proposed rule on STLDI plans. The proposed regulatory changes seek to carry out the directions given in Executive Order 13813, “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States,” to expand access to STLDI plans. States have a 60-day comment period to share supportive feedback or request changes to the rule before it is finalized. Additionally, state laws that further limit the duration of STLDI plans or put requirements around such coverage will be permitted, meaning that states should consider whether they will further regulate STLDI plans. For more information about STLDI plans, the proposed regulatory changes, and the potential impacts, click here.
President signs Bipartisan Budget Act
On February 9, 2018, the President signed H.R. 1892, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. The new law reauthorizes federal funding for several health programs, modifies scheduled reductions in Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) allotments to states, tightens third party liability (TPL) billing requirements, and updates requirements affecting Medicare Advantage plans, accountable care organizations (ACOs), and providers’ adoption of telehealth. Click here to continue reading about the Bipartisan Budget Act.
Administration budget proposal includes health care changes
The administration released its budget proposal on February 12, 2018. As expected, the proposal includes a number of changes related to health care.
The budget plan revives the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal, with a proposal similar to the Graham Cassidy Heller Johnson bill. The budget plan proposes a staged repeal and replace, with the replace being a block grant program for states. In addition to a number of proposed changes to Medicaid, the budget plan also proposes to end funding to providers that offer abortion services; to increase funding for the opioid crisis and serious mental illness; to identify new approaches to manage RX costs; and more.
Click here to read more about the proposed health care changes included in the administration’s budget proposal.
New federal grant opportunity to support state efforts to strengthen the private health insurance market
On February 5, 2018, the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) released a new Notice of Funding Opportunity to support states as they implement several of the market reforms and consumer protections under Title I of the ACA. This grant program is a follow-up to the Health Insurance Enforcement and Consumer Protections Grants funded in 2016. Specifically, the new grant program – known as the State Flexibility to Stabilize the Market Grant Program (“State Flexibility Grant Program”) – is intended to provide states the opportunity to ensure their laws, regulations, and procedures align with federal requirements. Total funding available nationwide is $8.1 million and CCIIO will announce funding allocations by March 2 based on letter of intent submissions, which were due on Monday, February 26. For more information about this new grant opportunity, including the recommended areas of focus for funding, click here.
Insights and suggested activities for State Flexibility Grant Program applications
The State Flexibility Grant Program was developed to support states as they implement several of the market reforms and consumer protections under Title I of the ACA. This new funding opportunity builds upon many of the efforts currently underway in states related to the Consumer Protection grant funds, which were awarded in October 2016. PCG is assisting many states with projects related to consumer protection grants and our team has used that experience to compile insights and suggested activities to help states in advance of the April 5th grant application date for this new federal funding opportunity. Click here to continue reading about ways that states can build upon existing projects and capture the specific activities included in the new funding announcement
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