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 Legislative & Policy Corner

Save the Date: May 5 AMCHP National MCH Policy Update Teleconference
Mark your calendars now for a May 5 teleconference from 2:30-4 p.m. EST. AMCHP will provide an analysis of MCH program reauthorizations; updates and next steps for the budget and appropriations process; and current topics related to the ACA, including the upcoming expected decision in the King v. Burwell case. To register, click here.

In Case You Missed It – MCH Program Extensions Becomes Law
On Apr. 14, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) for doctors providing Medicare services. The bill also provides a two-year extension of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP); the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program; the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP); Community Health Centers (CHCs); and Family to Family Health Information Centers (F2Fs) – all at current funding levels. Additional details are available here.

Health Reform Implementation

U.S. Supreme Court Cases
Young V. UPS: In late March 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) sent the case back to a lower court (4th Circuit Court of Appeals) to provide Peggy Young another opportunity to prove she was discriminated against under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The case involves a former UPS driver, Peggy Young, who sued UPS for pregnancy discrimination when she was denied accommodations during her pregnancy to preserve her health. This denial forced her to take unpaid leave and remain without health insurance during her pregnancy in 2006. The outcome of this case is critically important for pregnant women in the workforce especially since women today are more likely to work while pregnant, according to the Pew Research Center.

Armstrong v. Exceptional Child Center Inc: Also in late March 2015, SCOTUS ruled that "private healthcare providers cannot sue state Medicaid agencies over low reimbursement rates" (Modern Healthcare, 2015). This ruling reverses a lower court decision. A background on this case and the parties involved can be found at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
 
Special Enrollment Period (SEP)
This is a friendly reminder that the SEP ends on Apr. 30, 2015. This enrollment period is for individuals and families who did not have health coverage in 2014 and are subject to the fee or "shared responsibility payment" when they file their 2014 taxes in states that use the federally facilitated marketplaces (FFM). This special enrollment period will allow those individuals and families who were unaware or did not understand the implications of this new requirement to enroll in 2015 health insurance coverage through the FFM. More information can be found here
 
Understanding Health Insurance & Benefits
Many individuals may be gaining access to health insurance for the first time. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) developed tools and resources in their initiative, from Coverage to Care, that helps people understand their benefits and connects them to primary and preventive care. Gaining coverage is the first step, understanding how to utilize that coverage comes after. CMS has an upcoming webinars on understanding coverage and benefits.

Preventive Screenings 101 and Next Steps in Using Your Health Insurance: Join this special Minority Health Month webinar focused on preventive screenings and how to use your health insurance now that you are covered. Dr. Cara James, director of the CMS Office of Minority Health will highlight Coverage to Care materials on how to use your health insurance. Discuss recommended preventive screenings and learn highlights on how faith and other community-based organizations are using Coverage to Care tools to help those in their congregations and communities learn about and use their health insurance. The webinar will take place on Apr. 20 at 3 p.m. EST. To register, click here.