Medicaid Concerns Loom Large in Election Year

Expansion Waivers, Drug Pricing Among Top Medicaid Concerns
– Bloomberg BNA

Bloomberg BNA interviewed Manatt Healthcare partners Deborah Bachrach, Cindy Mann and Melinda Dutton for an article on the continuing developments in Medicaid in the New Year.

Bloomberg BNA reports that Medicaid expansion will continue to play a prominent role in 2016. Bachrach told the publication that even in a presidential election year, non-expansion states will be seriously debating the possibility of expanding Medicaid. For the expansion states, more data will be available on the benefits of expanded coverage, she said.

In 2016, the federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs of covering newly eligible beneficiaries through the year. Mann told Bloomberg BNA that the CMS hasn't set a deadline for states to opt into the expansion, but every state, not just the ones that have already expanded, will need to think about how to pay for it. "Every state that's gone forward or not thinks about [financing]," Mann. "But it's not a secret. It's not a new issue that the match rate is dropping, but it is more imminent now."

In 2017, authorization of funding for CHIP expires, but advocates of the program hope reauthorization is an issue in 2016. "As we look and decide the future, eliminating CHIP would take us backwards," said Dutton. "We want to at least do no harm." The insurance exchanges were established with adults in mind and don't meet the unique pediatric needs of children, Dutton added.

Read the article here