Friday Five – March 23, 2018

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March 21, 2018

In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is tracking Medicaid as the primary funder of addiction treatment, the importance of waiver evaluations, the economic impacts of Medicaid expansion, and the challenge of hourly work requirements on low-wage workers.

1. Medicaid essential to addressing opioid epidemic: 4 report insights

In this article, Becker’s Hospital Review pulls out four key findings from a recent report on Medicaid and opioids. Those findings include that Medicaid spending on addiction treatment more than doubled in the past five years, that Medicaid is the primary federal funding dedicated to treatment, and that the rise in opioid overdoses is not linked to pain medication distributed through Medicaid.

2. There’s a lot to learn from state Medicaid experiments, but only if they’re carefully evaluated

Medicaid waivers are tools that allow states the ability to experiment outside of the standard federal Medicaid framework. This opinion piece in Health Affairs lays out principles for evaluating the effectiveness of these waivers and makes the argument that evaluation should be a critical part of the process.

3. AHIP wants Congress to enact MACPAC recommendations to streamline managed Medicaid

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment Access Commission recently provided recommendations to Congress about enrollment, approval, funding, telehealth, and more. According to Healthcare Finance, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) agreed with the commission’s recommendations for Medicaid managed care and a simpler approach for states expanding programs.

4. Study illustrates how Medicaid expansion can pay for itself

This column from Forbes highlights a recent study on the economic benefits of Medicaid expansion in Montana, which showed an increase in health care spending, economic activity and jobs, that is expected to outweigh the state’s costs of expansion for at least five years.

5. State Medicaid work rules ignore the reality of working life for Americans in low wage jobs

As more states consider implementing Medicaid work requirements, this opinion piece from the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute argues that requiring a minimum number of hours worked per week doesn’t fit today’s job market. Many low-wage workers are not guaranteed a set number of hours, have irregular work schedules, and work for companies that do not provide health insurance.