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 Legislative Corner

FY 2012 Title V Funding Update
As of press time, it appears that Congress will not reach agreement on final funding levels for health programs for FY 2012 before the current continuing resolution (CR) expires on Nov. 18. Another CR is almost certain, allowing more time for negotiations, and will likely go through mid to late December. At the same time, the Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (Super Committee) has just three weeks left before their deadline to present a plan for an additional $1.2 trillion in savings over 10 years. No details on their potential proposed cuts have been released yet. This means the window of opportunity to influence decisions that will impact funding levels is still open – for more details on how you can take action see the most recent AMCHP Legislative Alert here.

Report Documents Quality of Care for Children in Medicaid and CHIP
On Sept. 30, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Secretary’s second Annual Report on the Quality of Care for Children in Medicaid and CHIP. This report, required by the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009, provides findings on the status of state and federal systems for measuring and reporting on the quality of care. It also summarizes national and state-specific findings on children’s access to health care and quality of health care in Medicaid and CHIP, including findings on use of dental services. Click here to read the report.

HHS Convenes Essential Health Benefits Regional Listening Sessions
Over the next few weeks, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will host several Regional Listening Sessions throughout the nation to seek comment on the establishment of an essential health benefits package provided under the Affordable Care Act.

The table below provides the details for each of the finalized Regional Listening Sessions:

Region City  Date  Time  Location  RSVP  RSVP Due 
 5  Chicago  Nov. 4  9:30 a.m.-noon 233 N Michigan Ave
13th floor (Room 1329)
Chicago, IL 60601
 Bryan.Schulz@hhs.gov  Nov. 1
 1  Boston  Nov. 8  1-3 p.m. John F. Kennedy Federal Building
15 New Sudbury St.
Conference Room 2075 (20th floor)
Boston, MA 02203
 R1-ORD@hhs.gov  Nov. 4
 3  Philadelphia  Nov. 8  10 a.m.-noon Public Ledger Building
150 S. Independence Mall West
Conference Rm 419
Philadelphia, PA 19106
 aryanna.abouzari@hhs.gov  Nov. 2
 6  Dallas  Nov. 9  10 a.m.-noon Center for Community Cooperation
2900 Live Oak Street, Dallas, TX 75204
 shelby.gooden@hhs.gov  Nov. 4
 2  New York  Nov. 14  10 a.m.-noon 26 Federal Plaza, Suite 3835
New York, New York 10278
 Joynetta.Bell@hhs.gov  Nov. 9
 7  Kansas City  Nov. 15  10 a.m.-noon Bolling Federal Office Building
8th Floor SSA Conference Room
601 E. 12th Street
Kansas City, MO 64106
 Cindy.Cento@hhs.gov  Nov. 10
 4  Atlanta  Nov. 16  10 a.m.-noon 61 Forsyth St. SW
Suite 5B95
Atlanta, GA 30303-8909
 ORDAtlanta@hhs.gov  Nov. 14
 10  Seattle  Nov. 17  2-5 p.m. Jackson Federal Building
915 2nd Ave, South Auditorium
Seattle, WA
   
 8  Denver  Nov. 18  9 a.m.- noon 999 18th St. South Terrace
Suite 400
Denver, CO 80202
 Ezra.Watland@hhs.gov  Nov. 10
 9  San Francisco  Nov. 21  3-5 p.m. 90 Seventh Street
Suite 5-100
San Francisco, CA 94103
 region9ord@hhs.gov  

The Affordable Care Act ensures Americans have access to quality, affordable health insurance. To achieve this goal, the law ensures plans offered in the new Affordable Insurance Exchanges offer a package of essential health benefits, which are to be defined by HHS.

The statute directs the secretary to consider the scope of benefits provided under a typical employer plan in defining essential health benefits. To inform the department, HHS received a survey of employer-sponsored coverage conducted by the Department of Labor, as well as recommendations from the Institute of Medicine on the criteria and methods for defining and updating essential health benefits.

HHS would like to receive broad public input on essential health benefits from all stakeholders, including states, patients, providers, employers, legislators, insurers and all other interested individuals.

To that end, HHS is inviting comments during sessions for regional, state and local stakeholders on essential health benefits. Senior HHS officials will be in attendance to listen to stakeholder feedback.

If you plan to attend the session, HHS is asking that you consider these questions in preparing your comments:

  • In keeping with the title of the Institute of Medicine report “Essential Health Benefits – Balancing Coverage and Cost,” how can the department best meet the dual goals of balancing the comprehensiveness of coverage included in essential health benefits and affordability? 
  • How might the department ensure that essential health benefits reflect an appropriate balance among the categories so that they are not unduly weighted toward any category?
  • What policy principles and criteria should be taken into account to prevent discrimination against individuals because of their age, disability status or expected length of life as the Affordable Care Act requires?
  • What models should HHS consider in developing essential health benefits?
  • What criteria should be used to update essential health benefits over time and what should the process be for their modification?

To register for the event, please send an email with your name, organization, title, email address and phone number to the designated RSVP by the RSVP Due Date listed above. (NOTE: In some locations, RSVPs are needed for building security and will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis.)