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 Legislative & Policy Corner

AMCHP Policy Agenda Approved
In January, the AMCHP board approved our 2014 Federal Policy Agenda now posted here. This agenda helps communicate how AMCHP prioritizes among MCH issues and indicates where we will play leadership and supporting roles.

Appropriations and Reauthorization Updates
Congress is on recess until Feb. 25. The next milestone in the federal budget process is the expected Mar. 4 release of President Obama’s FY 2015 budget proposal. This release will mark the beginning of the intensive appropriations season, and AMCHP will be advocating across Capitol Hill in support of $639 million for the Title V MCH Service Block Grant. The other top priority we are pushing right now is reauthorization of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV), Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), and Family to Family Health Information Centers (F2F) components of the Title V statute. Efforts are underway to advocate for including these reauthorizations as part of a broader “doc fix” Medicare payment reform bill. Congress is currently expected to address this by late March. Additional details will be shared as available.

HEALTH REFORM

Clarification from CMS on Third Party Payments of Premiums for QHPs
An important frequently asked question (FAQ) document for state and federal government programs that may provide premium support for qualified health plans (QHPs) purchased in the Marketplace was issued last week by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The FAQ, Third Party Payments of Premiums for Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) in the Marketplaces seeks to clarify questions that arose from a previous FAQ issued in November 2013 regarding third party payments of premiums for QHPs in the Marketplaces that discouraged the practice of third party payers of premiums. The most recent FAQ clarifies that “the Nov. 4, 2013 FAQ does not apply to payments for premiums and cost sharing made on behalf of QHP enrollees by Indian tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian organizations, and state and federal government programs or grantees (such as the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program). QHP issuers and Marketplaces are encouraged to accept such payments.”

AMCHP Releases Proceedings from the Connecting the Dots Meeting
In the summer of 2013, AMCHP hosted a national-level meeting with the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, of nearly 50 leaders representing federal health agencies, state departments of health and Medicaid agencies, professional associations, provider groups, nonprofit leaders, think tanks, private funders, and academia in Washington, DC. This was an important opportunity to coalesce and discuss how to effectively coordinate and maximize the impact of efforts to improve birth outcomes, particularly for states and community groups. The proceedings of the meeting can be found here.