Friday Five: Utah’s Medicaid proposal is unique, but needs approval from the federal government

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February 15, 2019

In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about Utah’s unique Medicaid expansion proposal, healthcare costs, how the feds are applying robotic process automation (RPA), President Trump’s executive order on artificial intelligence, and veterans receiving access to health records on their phones.

1. Utah’s novel plan for Medicaid expansion opens door to spending caps sought by GOP

Utah’s proposal to expand Medicaid includes several unique elements that would need to be approved by the federal government, according to Kaiser Health News. Those include only expanding Medicaid coverage up to 100% of the poverty level, instead of 138%; including work requirements; and capping both state and federal Medicaid spending. Supporters say this would lower costs, while opponents argue it could limit both enrollment and benefits.

2. Medicaid, Medicare best private plans for containing health costs

Health Payer Intelligence reports that Medicaid and Medicare reported lower growth in spending per enrollee than private insurance from 2006-2017. While spending for Medicaid and Medicare overall increased more than private insurance, this was due to an increase in enrollees. Researchers believe modest policy changes could further contain costs and serve as a model for the private industry.

3. How robotic process automation will help agencies

Robotic process automation (RPA) is still in the early stages of being introduced and applied within the federal government. However, FedTech reports that is expected to change as more staff become trained to develop bots and agencies begin seeing the benefits of freeing up employees to focus on more high-value work. As federal IT improves, agencies also hope to attract higher-level technology talent.

4. Will Trump’s new artificial intelligence initiative make the US the world leader in AI?

President Trump signed an executive order this week to launch an American artificial intelligence (AI) initiative. No specific funding commitment or re-allocation of resources was included in the announcement. Despite concerns about proposal funding, Forbes reveals why the order was met with a positive reception.

5. Apple lets veterans track their health records on the iPhone 

Earlier this week, Apple and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced that veterans would be able to access an integrated snapshot of their health data through the Health Records feature on iPhones. USA Today reports that Veterans will be able to access test results, medications, and more by signing in with their military credentials.