Skip to main content

In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading year-end summaries of the year’s major health policy issues and of the increased use of RPA by the federal government. Additional reading: how the ACA changed healthcare over the past decade, Medicaid expansion in Utah and the impact of self-directed Medicaid benefits for individuals with disabilities.

1. From Medicaid to price transparency, here are the 5 biggest health policy controversies in 2019

Fierce Healthcare compiled its list of the five biggest health policy controversies of the year – topics of conversation likely to continue into 2020. They include surprise billing, price transparency, Medicaid payment cuts, Medicaid work requirements and the continued legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act. 

2. 2019 in review: Agencies embrace RPA – AI less so

Federal agencies made major strides this year in implementing robotic process automation (RPA), but are moving slower toward artificial intelligence (AI) adoption, according to FedScoop. The difference? RPA is rules-based, while true AI allows for the ability to mimic human decision-making.

3. How the Affordable Care Act transformed our healthcare system

The Affordable Care Act became law nearly ten years ago. As CNBC reports, it hasn’t exactly gone to plan, but it has drastically changed the U.S. healthcare system. Legal challenges to the law continue, and millions of people remain uninsured among complaints of high premiums. However, more than 20 million Americans gained insurance coverage, tax credits have helped stabilize prices, many states have expanded Medicaid, and insurers are now barred from charging more for preexisting conditions or putting lifetime caps on coverage.

4. Utah gets federal ok for full Medicaid expansion plan

After Utah’s initial proposal for partial Medicaid expansion was rejected by the federal government, the state has received approval for a full expansion. According to Utah Public Radio, the full expansion could increase access to Medicaid for 60,000 residents and will also include work requirements.

5. In Wisconsin, people with disabilities can direct their own medical funding

Wisconsin was one of the first states to implement self-directed Medicaid benefits for people with disabilities. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the state now has three times the average number of individuals directing their own services, leads the country in many measures of independence and quality of life, and has less use of group homes and other costly services.