Week in Washington is brought to you by Michael Cohen, PhD. Tune in each week to read the latest on healthcare policy and get a glimpse of what’s on the horizon.
Week in Washington: Medicaid Day in Court
Work Requirements: Last week a federal appeals court unanimously ruled against the work waivers for the state of Arkansas. Currently ten states have had their work requirement waivers approved and nine states have sought similar rules. Because of the lawsuit, work requirements are only in effect currently in the state of Michigan. As a next step, the Supreme Court will consider reviewing the case. If it doesn’t take on the case, the appeals court ruling will stand.
Medicare Advantage Enrollment Up: Enrollment data from CMS released recently showed that enrollment in Medicare Advantage reached almost 22.4 million beneficiaries or 6.8%. Additionally, the data showed that the three largest companies (United, Humana, and Aetna/CVS) control more than half of the MA market.
Rural Hospitals: A new report released found that 1 in 4 rural hospitals are vulnerable to closure. Additionally, 2019 was the single worst year for rural hospitals, with 19 of them closing. Rural hospitals in states that expanded Medicaid were 62% less likely to close. Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri have all experienced the highest number of rural hospital closures.
HRAs: Initial reports indicate that so far employers have not increased usage of HRAs despite last year’s regulation.
Health IT: A relatively under the radar issue, is potential changes for the ability of patients and tech companies to get access to health records. Politico has a wonderful summary of the battle playing out between privacy concerns and Silicon Valley as to who has access to patient’s medical records.
1/24/2020: No Expedited Hearing for ACA Case
1/10/2020: Five News Stories to Follow in 2020
12/20/2019: Budget Deal and More
12/13/2019: Risk Corridors at the Supreme Court
12/06/2019: Legislation to Watch