Friday Five: Medicaid expansion lowers uninsured rate in rural areas, but also impacts spending

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September 28, 2018
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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about Medicaid spending, digital government services, the uninsured rate in rural communities, and how Medicaid waivers could impact delivery reform efforts.

1. Medicaid spending increase expected to exceed GDP growth over next decade

A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services predicts that Medicaid spending will increase at an average annual rate of 5.7% over the next ten years. According to Healthcare Dive, this is more than the anticipated rise in the gross domestic product (GDP) and could strain state and federal budgets. Changes in Medicaid costs are attributed to expansion, the shift to managed care organizations, and waiver initiatives such as work requirements.

2. Members of Congress look to make AI a priority

Reps. Will Hurd (R-TX) and Robin Kelly (D- IL), leaders of the House IT Subcommittee, recently released a white paper that makes the case for Congress prioritizing artificial intelligence (AI). As reported by Federal Times, the authors are concerned that countries such as China or Russia will overtake the U.S. in research and development unless the federal government increases AI engagement, including public-private partnerships.

3. Survey: Citizens favor a more digital government

In this article, NextGov discusses the results of a recent survey, which found nearly 90% of respondents believe digital government services are as important or more important than traditional methods. The survey also found a strong interest in personalized services, a willingness to share personal information, and interest in artificial intelligence and other new technologies.

4. Medicaid expansion particularly helped rural areas, small towns, report finds

The uninsured rate for rural locations and small towns fell from 35% to 16% in states that expanded Medicaid, as compared to 32% for states that have not expanded the program. According to Healthcare Dive, despite the improvement, rural areas consistently have a higher uninsured rate than more urban areas.

5. Are new Medicaid waivers on a collision course with state delivery system reform?

Nineteen states have approved or pending waivers that would allow Medicaid coverage restrictions. In this opinion piece published by the Commonwealth Fund, the author makes the case that these waivers may impact system reform by disrupting the continuity of care, particularly for medically complex high-risk patients, and financially impacting safety net providers.