Friday Five – October 20, 2017

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October 20, 2017

In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about a bipartisan deal on the Affordable Care Act, how Puerto Rico serves as an example of Medicaid block grant funding, and changes pending for Medicaid recipients in Arkansas and Pennsylvania. 

1. Senators announce 24 cosponsors for Obamacare deal

According to the Washington Times, Senators from both parties have signed on to cosponsor the Alexander-Murray deal that would stabilize the insurance markets by guaranteeing subsidy payments, expanding access to catastrophic health insurance, funding enrollment marketing and support efforts, and making waivers easier for states to obtain. It’s unknown if the deal will be voted on by the Senate.

2. Medicaid is the biggest winner in Trump’s Obamacare subsidy cuts

Will Trump’s actions cause more individuals to stay on Medicaid by removing payment assistance for health insurance for individuals just above the qualification line? In this opinion piece published on CNBC, a contributor argues that it lowers the incentive and likelihood that people will move off of Medicaid over time.

3. The insufficiency of Medicaid block grants: The example of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico receives federal Medicaid funding as a block grant and has higher rates of chronic disease, more issues with healthcare access, and a more difficult time dealing with health emergencies than the mainland United States, according to the authors of this Health Affairs blog.

4. Governor: Rate hikes don’t threaten Arkansas Medicaid plan  

In this US News and World Report article, Gov. Hutchinson affirms that Arkansas’ Medicaid expansion will move forward, despite a jump in health insurance premium prices requested after President Trump announced the end of cost-sharing subsidies. Federal approval is still pending for several changes to the Medicaid program, including higher eligibility standards.

5. Aging, disabled consumers may be clueless about state’s new long-term care program

Pennsylvania is moving to a mandatory managed care program for individuals receiving long-term care via Medicaid. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that many people affected are unaware, confused, or wary of the change.