Arkansas: General Assembly Votes on Private Option Bills

After recently reauthorizing the State’s Private Option for Medicaid expansion for Fiscal Year 2016, the Arkansas General Assembly voted on two bills related to the expiration of the program at the end of 2016. The General Assembly approved HB1363, which requires the Department of Human Services (DHS) to notify Private Option enrollees at the time of enrollment or renewal that the program will end on December 31, 2016. This bill has been sent to Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) for signature. In addition, the Senate has proposed that the notifications to enrollees include information on the legislative task force charged with identifying alternative coverage models to the Private Option; the measure has passed the Senate and has been sent to the House, as reported by The Associated Press. The Senate rejected SB312, which directs DHS to seek federal approval to freeze enrollment in the Private Option program as of December 31, 2015 so that "the State does not enroll additional individuals in the last year" of the program "only to remove the insurance coverage." According to The Associated Press, the federal government indicated that it would not grant a waiver permitting the State to freeze enrollment.

California: Health Department Submits Medicaid Transformation and Alignment Waiver Application

On March 27, the California Department of Health Care Services submitted its “Medi-Cal 2020” waiver application to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The Department seeks to build on its "Bridge to Reform" waiver from 2010. The proposed waiver includes continued authority for DSRIP and features several new initiatives: a series of delivery system transformation and alignment programs that will provide additional participation and collaboration incentives for providers and managed care plans; a global, value-based payment system for care for the remaining uninsured; and a new federal-state shared savings model. The Department will work with CMS over the coming months to finalize the waiver and, if approved, begin implementation on November 1.

Colorado: Governor Creates State Innovation Model (SIM) Office to Oversee $65 Million Grant

Governor John Hickenlooper (D) issued an Executive Order to create the State Innovation Model (SIM) Office and the State Innovation Model (SIM) Advisory Board for Colorado, to develop an implementation plan for the state’s four-year, $65 million SIM grant from the CMS Innovation Center. The focus of the SIM grant is to better integrate primary care and behavioral health systems in Colorado, improving care coordination and accountability. The Executive Order continues through January 31, 2019.

Montana: State Senate Endorses Bipartisan Medicaid Expansion Bill

On March 27, a bipartisan majority in the Senate endorsed a Medicaid expansion bill that would extend state-funded health coverage to an estimated 70,000 low-income Montanans. Seven Senate Republicans and twenty-one Senate Democrats voted to endorse the bill , which also has the support of Governor Steve Bullock (D). The bill will now progress to the Montana House where it will likely face opposition from the conservative Republicans and House GOP leadership.