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 Legislative & Policy Corner

Don't Miss Today's AMCHP National MCH Policy Update Teleconference
Today from 2:30-4 p.m. EST, AMCHP will host a policy teleconference to 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 for the call, click here.

Congress Close to Finalizing a Joint Budget Resolution
As of press time there are reports that the House and Senate are near final agreement on a unified budget resolution. As a reminder these resolutions are largely symbolic and do not have the force of law, but are important in the sense they describe priorities and governing philosophies. The resolution currently under consideration continues the damaging cuts under sequestration - which is scheduled to return in full force in 2016 unless Congress acts to prevent it. It would more than double the cuts in non-defense discretionary programs over the coming decade. These programs include public health, education, job training, infrastructure, scientific research, medical research, veterans' health care, child care, and many other important areas. Under this plan, starting in 2016, sequestration will cut them by an average of $37 billion a year, on top of the cuts that the BCA's tight funding caps already impose. The new agreement adds another $496 billion in cuts over the coming decade -- an average of another $50 billion a year. AMCHP is weighing in against these plans through our membership in the Coalition for Health Funding.

Health Reform Implementation

Recent Report on Medicaid Expansion
A recent report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) examined Medicaid expansion in eight states. According to the report, those eight states that expanded Medicaid are realizing budget savings and revenue gains as a result of the expansion. The report highlights specific examples of savings by population in the report. For example, one type of saving is realized when pregnant women can remain in the new adult group after learning of their pregnancy status.

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 here.

Special Enrollment Period (SEP)
CMS provided an SEP for tax season that ended Apr. 30. This allowed individuals facing financial penalties to sign up for health insurance after the marketplace open enrollment. In estimates from last week, approximately 68,000 people gained insurance during this period.

Aside from this SEP, the ACA creates SEPs for other circumstances including change in marital status, loss of coverage, birth/adoption of a child, address change, among a few others. On May 6 from 2-3 p.m. EST, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will host a webinar, "Special Enrollment Period and Resources for the Uninsured," that will provide an overview of SEPs for those who qualify and resources for the uninsured who do not qualify for an SEP.

King V. Burwell
AMCHP has provided updates on the Supreme Court case, King V. Burwell through our Member Briefs. This case hinges on the legality of the advance premium tax credits (the "subsidies"). As written, the ACA states that subsidies will be provided only in states that operate their own exchanges. Two Republican Senators, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Ben Sasse of Nebraska, introduced two separate transition plans in the event that the court rules that subsidies are not available in the federal exchange. Both plans were introduced as legislation. Additional information on these transition plans is available on Health Affairs.