August 1, 2018

Time to Speak Up for Kentucky: 1115 Waiver Back At CMS for Comment

Federal administrators are hoping to re-approve Kentucky’s Medicaid 1115 waiver, Kentucky HEALTH, after it was recently blocked in federal court. In response to the court ruling, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is once again collecting comments on the waiver. This is an enormous opportunity for advocates to weigh in.

Comments Matter and Can Influence Approvals, Court Decisions

July 31, 2018

Speaking Up for Health Care during Recess and Beyond

Those hottest days of summer have arrived, which means that it's finally the season of congressional recess. The House began its August recess this week and will return to Washington on September 4th. The Senate is taking a truncated August recess this year, coming home the week of August 6-10th. It will be in session for the remainder of the month.

July 25, 2018

Remember: The Real Senate "Repeal and Replace" Bill Only Got 43 Votes in 2017

Most everybody remembers the dramatic middle of the night vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act on July 28 of last year, punctuated by Senator John McCain’s thumbs-down on the Senate floor. A focus only on that much-televised vote overlooks the significance of what actually happened in last summer’s failed effort by President Trump and his Republican allies to repeal the health law. The vote on July 28 was actually the third and least substantive of three bills repealing the ACA to lose in the Senate last year.

The first and more telling vote took place one year ago today, on July 25. The key vote involved the final version of the detailed bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, known as the “Better Care Reconciliation Act” or BCRA.

July 24, 2018

Advancing A Health System Transformation Agenda Focused On Achieving Health Equity

There has been an important and ongoing effort over the past decade to address the manifest failures of our health care system by changing payment and provider organization to reward value and not volume. But transformation efforts largely ignore one of our system’s most fundamental problems: persistent, extensive, severe, and costly health and health care inequities based on race, ethnicity, and geography, among other factors. 

July 11, 2018

The Family Separation Crisis: A Problematic Vetting Process, Challenges After Reunification

Family separation - even for short periods of time - is distressing, traumatic and damaging to the health and well-being of children and parents. Longer periods of separation will lead to sustained and heightened distress and “toxic stress” that will have physiological effects on a child’s neuroendocrine and immune systems, stress regulatory system, and brain development with long-term implications for their health and well-being.

The vetting process that the administration is using to reunite parents with their children is wholly inappropriate. The process, established by the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPRA), requires background checks of sponsors, in-person checks of where the child would live, and a full screening of people who live in that home. The judge in the ACLU lawsuit has ruled that while the government should be mindful of the best interest of each child it releases, it does not have to follow every single step of the process established by TVPRA as it was designed for screening non-parental sponsors of unaccompanied children to assure that potential placements are safe and appropriate. This process was not intended to assess placement of children who entered the U.S. together with their parents.

June 12, 2018

Budget Proposal Would Allow States To Drop Medicaid Transportation Benefits Across The Entire Program

The Trump administration’s fiscal year 2019 budget request signals that the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) intends to use regulatory authority to allow states to drop the Medicaid non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) benefit. This benefit has been part of Medicaid since the program’s inception in 1966. Changing that would be a stunning precedent, reversing more than 50 years of Medicaid policy. 

June 6, 2018

Congress Takes Steps to Address Substance Use Disorder; More Action Needed

Jane Sheehan

Senior Federal Relations Manager

Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is a massive public health emergency facing the United States, costing tens of thousands of lives per year and touching every community. Over the past few months, Congress has prioritized addressing this crisis with hearings and legislation aimed at the opioids crisis in particular.

June 6, 2018

Protecting Medicaid in Kentucky: Q&A with Emily Beauregard

Kentucky’s successful Medicaid expansion is in jeopardy. The Trump administration approved the state’s request to impose work requirements on people who get health coverage through Medicaid which would lead to people being kicked off the program. 


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