Week in Washington: Block Grant Regulation Coming

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: Block Grant Regulation Coming?

The big news this week is reporting that the Trump Administration is preparing to release guidelines for states to implement block granting for state Medicaid programs. While the details are still scarce, politico reported that the rule is currently under review at OMB. Several states have expressed interest in pursuing block grants. Notably Alaska awarded a contract award to study the impact of block granting Medicaid in the state this week. 

ACA Rates: Proposed 2020 Rates could trickle in. A few more to add to the list:

  • Washington – Less than 1%
  • Oregon – 3.3%
  • Virginia – 2.9%

ACA signups that keeps a great tracker here. So far rate increases are looking very mild this year. 

Social Security Error

Up to 250,000 Medicare beneficiaries may receive bills for up to five months of unpaid premiums due to a Social Security Administration error. Apparently SSA did not deduct premiums from some private drug policies and Medicare Advantage plans. The result is that the beneficiaries must pay the unpaid premiums or potentially face cancellation notices.

1332 Reinsurance Programs

It’s hard to keep track of all the reinsurance programs rolling out in the individual market. Delaware, this week, posted its proposed waiver application (a proposed 20% reduction in premiums). Also of note, Colorado’s and North Dakota’s waivers were deemed complete.  To help keep track of what states are doing which waivers, I’d recommend using SHVS tracker that you can find here.

Other State Activities

  • CT – CT’s attempt at a reinsurance program/public option officially died in the CT Senate this week.
  • CA – CA is in the midst of major budget negotiations. One of the more contentious issues is if the state will impose a state mandate


Previous editions: 

05/30/2019:  New and Notes of Note

05/23/2019:  Potential Healthcare Legislation Unveiled 

05/17/2019:  Surprise Billing-Proposed Laws

05/09/2019: Balanced Billing, New Regs & More

05/02/2019:  Medicare for All, CBO Scores & More

04/25/2019:  Demonstrations


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