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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about the societal impact of an aging population, efforts to prevent a subsidy cliff, improvements to Medicaid IT systems, and a new proposal to prevent surprise medical billing.

1. What the 2020’s have in store for aging boomers 

As baby boomers age, the population is undergoing a demographic shift where senior citizens will outnumber children for the first time. Kaiser Health News reports on the trends related to aging that experts expect to see in the next decade. These predictions include a shortage of quality long-term care, the need to update infrastructure, an increased number of seniors in the workforce, and positive effects of scientific progress.

2. Two bills introduced to expand SNAP benefits and childcare subsidy  

Nebraska has introduced two bills designed to help needy families. According to NTV, one bill would offer a “step” reduction of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to assist families that would otherwise lose benefits due to extra hours or a pay raise. The other expands eligibility limits for childcare subsidies.

3. Medicaid IT: Finally ready to move out of the dark ages  

For more than ten years, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been encouraging states to upgrade their Medicaid IT programs and report comparable data. Governing reports it’s been slow going, due to the age of many systems and the differences between state programs. But efforts are beginning to bear fruit. Splitting systems into components, moving them to the cloud, and learning from other states’ experiences has sped up the modernization process. 

4. RPA Community of Practice releases first program playbook for agencies 

Last April, the General Services Administration created a robotic process automation (RPA) community of practice. This week, FedScoop reports that the community released a program playbook for agencies, focusing on six themes. The playbook encourages agencies to collaborate, set aggressive goals, and think strategically about technology.

5. Powerful House committee is latest to take stab at ‘surprise’ billing fix 

Congress continues to work toward legislation to prevent surprise medical bills. According to Politico, the most recent proposal comes from the House Ways and Means Committee and calls for outside negotiation on price when private negotiations fail. This approach is preferred by hospital and provider groups. In order to pass legislation, compromises will need to be made between several proposed solutions.