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 Legislative & Policy Corner

AMCHP Policy Call Recording Available
In case you missed it, a recording of the May 5 AMCHP all member MCH policy update teleconference is posted here.
 
Congress Passes Final Budget Resolution
In early May, Congress finalized a concurrent resolution on the FY 2016 budget that was worked out by a House-Senate conference committee. The resolution calls for repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as well as deep cuts in Medicaid, and "domestic discretionary" programs, including most health and education programs funded through the appropriations process.

Adoption of the resolution paves the way for Congress to use a procedural mechanism known as resolution, which means that budget-related legislation can be adopted by the Senate with only 51 votes instead of the 60 votes normally needed to proceed to legislation. This would enable Congress to pass legislation to repeal the ACA and possibly other things. Legislation to implement the budget resolution would, however, have to be agreed to by the president, who has vowed to veto any bills that would repeal the ACA or would make significant cuts in domestic discretionary spending. It is not expected that the House and Senate would have enough votes to override a veto. In essence, the resolution sets the stage for action in the months to come – stay tuned here for updates.

Health Reform Implementation

Marketplace Navigators 
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced the federal grant opportunity for Navigators for the third year of open enrollment. This grant is for Navigators in federally facilitated or state-partnership marketplaces. The funding announcement expands the project from one year to three years and a total of up to $67 million. Applications are due by Jun. 15. More information can be found on the AMCHP fact sheet.
 
Essential Health Benefits
Several organizations are monitoring the implementation of health reform provisions. Recently, we reported on the findings from an American Lung Association on the varying availability of tobacco cessation medications in marketplace plans. In addition, the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) has been monitoring and reporting on health plan violations in the ACA, especially as they pertain to women's health. Lastly, Community Catalyst has several resources on how to engage with the local Department of Insurance. Additionally, a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) have been prepared jointly by the U.S. Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Treasury regarding preventive services including contraception. The FAQs seek to clarify that insurers must cover without cost-sharing at least one form of contraception in each of the methods (currently 18) that the Food and Drug Administration identified for women in its current Birth Control Guide, including the ring, the patch and intrauterine devices, according to the guidance. The FAQs also cover issues such as BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 cancer susceptibility gene screening, preventive services and transgender people, benefits for children covered as dependents on their parent's insurance, and much more.
 
Montana Medicaid Expansion
Recently, Montana Governor Steve Bullock, signed a bill extending health care coverage to thousands of individuals. This bill, known as the HELP Act, not only expands Medicaid but also assists Medicaid recipients in finding work and developing job skills. More information can be found here.
 
Community Health Center Grant Opportunity
Earlier this month, HHS announced ACA funding for new community health centers. According to HHS Secretary Burwell, there is "approximately $101 million in Affordable Care Act funding to 164 new health center sites in 33 states and two U.S. territories for the delivery of comprehensive primary health care services in communities that need them most. These new health centers are projected to increase access to health care services for nearly 650,000 patients." More information is available here.

Connecting Kids to Coverage
The Connecting Kids to Coverage campaign under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently had a twitter storm reminding us all that Medicaid and CHIP are open year round. They have a wide variety of resources for partners and organizations to promote enrollment year-round. CMS is hosting a webinar, Making Medicaid and CHIP Health Coverage Part of a Safe & Healthy Summer, on Thursday May 21, from 3 p.m.-4 p.m. EDT. This webinar is a part of the national campaign to get children covered.

Celebrating 50 Years of Medicaid
AMHP recognizes Medicaid as the foremost safety net program for maternal and child health populations. Medicaid has been instrumental in providing access to coverage and delivering health care to millions of vulnerable women, children, and families. Our state and territorial members have a long, working relationship with Medicaid – as partners, stakeholders, and colleagues. The complementary work of Medicaid and Title V highlights the benefit of joint public health – health delivery system approaches to improving outcomes for MCH populations. AMCHP and its members thank our dedicated colleagues in the Medicaid program, at both the state and federal levels. It has been an honor to work in partnership with Medicaid over the last 50 years and we look forward to achieving our shared goal of a nation of healthy children and families.