Posted on February 20, 2014
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report citing how Medicaid spends a third of their funds on a small sect of high-expenditure Medicaid beneficiaries. The report, Medicaid: Demographics and Service Usage of Certain High-Expenditure Beneficiaries, found that states spent 31.6% of all Medicaid expenditures on 4.3% of the Medicaid population. Furthermore, the report stated that certain characteristics, such as residing in a long-term care facility, contributed to individuals being deemed high-expenditure Medicare beneficiaries.
Posted on February 10, 2014
A new set of frequently asked questions (FAQ) was published today by Douglas Elmendorf, the Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), in an effort to clarify some of the misconceptions concerning CBO’s report released last week. The FAQ clarifies that 2.5 million Americans will not lose their jobs as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but will instead no longer feel forced to remain employed just to receive healthcare. The FAQ also addresses why CBO chose to revisit the labor market in their study.
Posted on February 4, 2014
Several documents concerning the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been recently released by different entities within the federal government. A letter from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) to the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee concerning the risk corridor provisions within the ACA surfaced today. The risk corridor was designed to aid insurance companies who may enroll a disproportionate number of less-healthy, or riskier, individuals. A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) provides information on baseline premiums for individuals aged 19 to 64 across all 50 states. GAO used information available on healthcare.gov to assess the lowest premium amounts available to consumers in January 2014. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their report, The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014-2024, which stated that 6 million Americans will receive health insurance from ACA marketplaces, 1 million less than previously anticipated. The report also claimed that full-time employment by 2016 will be reduced by nearly 2 million individuals, which the CBO is attributing to a reduction in the number of hours worked as a result of employers being required to offer health care benefits for full-time employees.
Posted on January 31, 2014
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued a new report containing frequently asked questions (FAQs) concerning healthcare.gov contractors. Given the rocky roll out of healthcare.gov, CRS intended to answer common questions about the role of contractor procurement and performance. The CRS report explicitly highlights that questions are answered in general terms in an effort to protect the rights of the contracted parties and avoid the specifics of each document.
Posted on January 16, 2014
The Congressional Research Service released a new report concerning the 2013 Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions,or Unified Agenda, for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In order to help promote congressional oversight, the Unified Agenda contains certain data points on all rules associated with a specific federal law. The Unified Agenda divides rules into three categories: active actions, completed actions, and long-term actions. The report, Upcoming Rules Pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Spring 2013 Unified Agenda, covers the fifth Unified Agenda pertaining to the ACA.
Posted on January 2, 2014
A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) plans from five states and compared these plans to each state’s respective benchmark Qualified Health Plan (QHP) offered through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Overall, GAO found the CHIP plans were comparable to the benchmark plans in terms of the services covered and the limitations placed upon those services. The cost of these services to the consumers, however, was generally less for the CHIP plans than for the benchmark plans. Plan usage for certain services was one difference detected between the two plans. For instance, CHIP beneficiaries reported more usage of emergency room services compared to individuals with private insurance.
Posted on December 30, 2013
A new report released by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) explains the background a current policy regarding medical child support, a legal provision concerning the payment of healthcare services for children not residing with their parents. Specifically, the report mentions the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on both uninsured children and Child Support Enforcement (CSE), the agencies responsible for enforcing medical child support.
Posted on December 9, 2013
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) recently published a report about Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments. Since FY1993, DSH payments have been provided to hospitals that serve a high proportion of both uninsured and underinsured patients. Care provided to these patients is often uncompensated or compensated at low rates, rendering DSH payments necessary to help mitigate some of the financial strain associated with treating this patient population. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was designed to help reduce the uninsured population, and as a result, a provision to reduce DSH payments was included in the law. The 2012 Supreme Court ruling, which made Medicaid expansion optional for states, did not change the DSH payment reduction provision. The final rule outlining the DSH reduction methodology does not take into account a state’s decision on Medicaid expansion, so some states may experience a reduction in DSH payments without the intended accompanied increase in insured individuals. The new CRS report provides an overview of DSH payments, including allocation methodology, current trends in DSH spending, and implications on states after full implementation of the ACA.
Posted on December 6, 2013
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released a report outlining 103 potential options to reduce federal spending or increase tax revenue. The report, Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2014 to 2023, contains 16 health-related provisions, several of which concern the Affordable Care Act (ACA), that may aid in reducing the deficit. These options include:
Posted on October 1, 2013
Several days ago, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) published a report describing how the appropriations impasse and government shutdown will impact the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The report provides background information on the ACA, particularly focusing upon how the law impacts federal spending. This information is followed by an explanation of the various legislative attempts to defund or amend the ACA, as well as legal and procedural considerations in using the appropriations process to attack the law. CRS concludes by examining how the government shutdown would impact ACA implementation. The report found that implementing the ACA would be largely unaffected by the government shutdown, because most of the federal agencies implementing the ACA will be able to rely upon funds outside of discretionary spending and several actions associated with implementing the ACA would be considered exceptions to the Antideficiency Act, the law that bars the federal government from performing certain tasks during a shutdown.