The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

The ACA lives on! & meanwhile back on Beacon Hill...

In the wee hours this morning, the US Senate failed to muster 51 votes to repeal the ACA!! 

Big thanks to Sen. Collins, Murkowski & McCain for voting against the "skinny" repeal that even the people voting for it did not want to become law. 

And here in Massachusetts, thanks to Gov Baker for joining the  letter from Governors of both parties to the Senate urging a no vote on the "skinny" repeal, to Sen. Markey and Sen. Warren and to everyone who marched, rallied, and called to protect coverage for tens of millions of people across the US as well as here at home.

We know the fight is not over but it's another battle won.

Meanwhile back in Massachusetts -

Wednesday, the legislature rejected the Governor's last minute MassHealth cuts, and sent him back the employer medical assessment and offsetting UI rate cut. The Governor has 10 days to sign, veto or let the assessment become law without his signature. The legislature is not expected to act on line item overrides until late August -September --the Governor  reduced MassHealth accounts by $200 million to correspond to his package of cuts and reforms on top of the $350 million reduction in MassHealth funding already reflected in the FY 18 budget.

The conversation on reducing MassHealth costs is far from over but we hope this time around there will be a more open and transparent process with all stakeholders and the legislature informed and engaged in arriving at the best solution. Many thanks to Sen Spilka and Rep Sanchez of Ways and Means, Sen Welch & Rep Kocut of Health Care Financing for convening an oversight hearing Tuesday to take a close hard look at the proposals and to the entire legislature for not taking hasty action. 

Currently, the state has two proposed 1115 waivers and a preliminary proposal for 1332 waivers out for public comment.

1. CMS is soliciting comments on 1115 amendments that MassHealth submitted for approval in June seeking to end provisional income eligibility for adults and to end nonemergency medical transportation in CarePlus except for travel to substance use treatment services.  Comments due. August 24, 2017

More info here on state proposal:

https://www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Topics/Waivers/1115/downloads/ma/ma-masshealth-pa2.pdf

and here on commenting to CMS: https://public.medicaid.gov/connect.ti/public.comments/view?objectId=1891523

2. Prior to submitting another request to CMS. EOHHS has published for comment additional 1115 amendments (including amendments related to  the proposed MassHealth cuts that the legislature has twice rejected in the FY 18 budget). Comments due August 21, 2017. Listening session in Boston on August 4 and in Chicopee on August 16

More info here: 2017: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/1115-masshealth-demonstration-waiver

3. The Connector has published a set of flexibility requests related to the operation of the Connector, commercial insurance, and the ACA employer mandate many  of which would require waivers under section 1332 of the ACA. Comments due August 25.Listening session at same time and place as the 1115 proposal in Boston and Chicopee

More info here: https://www.mahealthconnector.org/about/policy-center/state-innovation-waiver

More to come as we review the proposed waivers.

And on the ACO-Delivery System Reform front -- the start date for ACOs and new MCOs has been pushed back from January to March 2018.

Whew! Is it the weekend yet?


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