Legislative & Policy Corner

AMCHP Summary of Key MCH Provisions in President’s FY 2013 Budget Proposal
On Feb. 13, President Obama released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2013.  AMCHP staff drafted a memo providing further analysis and information about key maternal and child health programs. Significantly, the budget provides estimates of new census data applied to the formula to allocate the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant to the states, cuts the budget authority for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and proposes supplanting funding for the National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities with money from the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Click here to view the memo. Please contact Carolyn Mullen cmullen@amchp.org if you have any questions about MCH provisions in the president’s budget.

Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Exchange Funding Awarded
On Feb. 22, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the award of $229 million in Affordable Insurance Exchange grants to 10 states (Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Tennessee) to help them create Exchanges, giving these states new flexibility and resources to implement the Affordable Care Act. Click here to view the fact sheet.

Text4Baby Partners with HHS to Promote Enrollment in Health Insurance Programs
This past week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it will partner with Text4Baby to promote enrollment in both Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and provide pregnant women and new mothers free text messages on important health care issues. More than 184,000 current Text4Baby users are receiving a new message alerting them to the availability of health coverage through Medicaid and CHIP. The message will provide a connection to the InsureKidsNow phone number and website for information about how to sign up. Additional messages will be periodically texted to provide Text4Baby users information about the importance of prenatal visits for women and the value of health coverage for keeping children healthy and getting the care they need when they are sick. For more information, click here.

HHS Provides Guidance on Innovation Waivers
HHS, along with the Department of Treasury, finalized a rule this week about State Innovation Waivers. Under the law, State Innovation Waivers are available in 2017, and the final rules provide detail on how states can work with HHS to ensure their residents have the protections provided in the Affordable Care Act and access to innovative state approaches. Click here to view the final rule.

HHS Provides Additional Answers on Essential Health Benefits
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published a fact sheet recently that deals with questions that have been raised by states, patient groups and others about how states should develop their essential health benefits packages. Notably the FAQ confirms that plans offered in state exchanges will be required to provide the full panel of recommended preventive health services, including the Bright Futures guidelines and women's health preventive services package. Click here to view the fact sheet.