Tom Price is confirmed as the new head of Health and Human Services; Georgia and Missouri legislatures call for new Medicaid waivers to implement capped funding; and the uninsurance rate hits a new low in 2016. Read on for more details.

Federal Health Reform Activity

Tom Price Confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price was confirmed by the Senate as Secretary of Health Human Services early Friday morning, February 10 by a 52 to 47, party-line vote. Read more

Uninsured Rate Continues to Decrease New National Health Interview Survey data found the uninsured rate declined to 8.8% in the first three quarters of 2016, down slightly from 9.1% in 2015. Read more

ACA Promotes Coverage Gains and Improved Insurance Retention The ACA improved retention in public insurance, but did not result in people dropping private coverage for public coverage ("crowd out"), according to a new study published in Health Affairs. Read more

State Health Reform News

Arizona: ACA Repeal Would Eliminate $5 Billion and 62,000 Jobs from State Economy Full repeal of federal ACA funding would lead to the loss of $5 billion in the Arizona economy and 62,000 jobs in 2018, according to an Arizona State University report commissioned by the Children's Action Alliance. Read more

California: State Finds Inaccurate Health Plan Data on Access, Considers Disciplinary Action The Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) was unable to assess health plan compliance with timely access standards because 90% of required compliance reports contained one or more "significant data inaccuracies." Read more

Rhode Island: Senate Hearing Focuses on Impacts of ACA Repeal In a joint Senate hearing, Zachary Sherman, Director of HealthSource RI, cautioned that the State would lose $102 million in federal tax credits to cover 30,000 individuals in the Marketplace under ACA repeal. Read more

Federal and State Medicaid Reform Activity

Trade Association Highlights Financial Impact of ACA Repeal on Safety Net Hospitals America's Essential Hospitals, a national trade association representing safety net hospitals, released a policy brief that estimates its 300 member hospitals would lose approximately $40.5 billion through 2026 if Congress repeals the ACA without replacement or restoration of Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments. Read more

Georgia: Resolution Would Ask Governor to Apply for Medicaid Waiver Capping Funding State Representative Brad Raffensperger (R) introduced a resolution urging Governor Nathan Deal (R) to seek a Section 1115 waiver to pursue "per capita block grant" funding for Medicaid coverage for "indigent health care." Read more

Vermont: State Announces Launch of Medicaid ACO Pilot Program Governor Phil Scott (R) recently unveiled a one-year Medicaid ACO pilot program in which the State will contract with OneCare Vermont—a statewide all-payer ACO—to provide care to 30,000 Medicaid beneficiaries under a "next generation" ACO payment model, which will include both upside and downside risk. Read more

Missouri: Bill Would Require State to Apply for Waiver With Medicaid Work Requirements, Cost-Sharing, and Capped Funding State Senator David Sater (R) has introduced a bill requiring the State to apply for a waiver to implement new Medicaid eligibility criteria, such as work requirements, health savings accounts, and cost-sharing, and to cap Medicaid funding in a way "similar to a federally-capped block grant." Read more

Federal Marketplace Updates

More State-Based Marketplaces Release 2017 Open Enrollment Numbers Additional states have released enrollment statistics for the 2017 open enrollment period that ended on January 31. Read more

Total Cost of Care Estimators Provide Value to Consumers During Plan Selection A Commonwealth Fund issue brief finds that tools allowing consumers to estimate total out-of-pocket costs associated with a Marketplace plan are a "critical" component of the enrollment process and improve the consumer-friendly shopping experience. Read more

Marketplace Competition and Premium Rates Vary Across Five States A Brookings Institute report found that California and Michigan experienced more robust Marketplace competition than Florida, North Carolina, and Texas, with all five states experiencing lower premium prices in urban areas due to stronger hospital and physician competition. Read more