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 Legislative and Policy Corner

Conference Hill Visits!
It's not too late to schedule visits with your Senators and Representatives! We encourage you to conduct your visits on Thursday Apr. 7 or Friday Apr. 8, however you may use any available time while you are in Washington, DC. AMCHP staff is available to schedule meetings for you: Simply fill out this form and be sure to list any times on Thursday Apr. 7 or Friday Apr. 8 that you are unavailable. We will schedule the meetings for you and contact you as soon as possible with confirmation. As a reminder, background information to support Hill visits and copies of advocacy materials are posted here.  Please also join us on Thursday Apr. 7 at 9:00am for our workshop, Advocacy in the Age of MCH Transformation to prepare you for your visits and get the latest information about what's going on in Congress! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact Amy Haddad or Brent Ewig

 48 Organizations Sign Letter in Support of Title V MCH Block Grant Appropriations
AMCHP was joined by 47 leading national organizations serving women, children, and families in sending a letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in support of $650 million for the Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services Block Grant in FY 2017.  A copy of the letter can be found here.

Congressional Maternity Care Caucus Presses TSA on Breast Milk and Formula Rules
On Mar. 23, Congressional Maternity Care Caucus co-chairs Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) sent a letter to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator Peter Neffenger regarding compliance with the liquids exemption for mothers and passengers traveling with breast milk and formula.  Herrera Beutler and Roybal-Allard were concerned by multiple reports of instances when airline and security officials failed to follow policy, prompting them to raise the issue to the level of the administrator in order to protect the health of mothers and their children.

Health Reform Implementation

Final Rule: Application of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorder Parity Requirements to Medicaid Managed Care, CHIP, and Benchmark Coverage
On Mar. 29, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a rule to strengthen access to mental health and substance use services for people with Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage, aligning with protections already required of health plans in the commercial market. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 generally requires that health insurance plans treat mental health and substance use disorder benefits on equal footing as medical and surgical benefits. The protections set forth in this final rule will benefit the over 23 million people enrolled in Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs), Medicaid alternative benefit plans (ABPs), and CHIP.  Currently, states have flexibility to provide services through a managed care delivery mechanism using entities other than Medicaid managed care organizations, such as prepaid inpatient health plans or prepaid ambulatory health plans. The final rule is currently on display here. For additional information, click here.

Final Enrollment Data for Open Enrollment 2015-2016
The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) released a final enrollment report showing Health Insurance Marketplaces nationwide signed up 4.9 million new customers for 2016 coverage during the third Open Enrollment period. In total, 12.7 million people signed up or automatically renewed their plans for 2016 coverage. Additionally, CMS released a report showing 8.8 million individuals had paid their premiums and had an active policy, or "effectuated" their coverage at the end 2015, up from 6.3 million individuals in 2014. The full report is available here.

CMS to Host Connecting Kids to Coverage Webinar
On Apr. 5, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will host a webinar, "School-Based Outreach Strategies to Reach Medicaid & CHIP-Eligible Students." By integrating health insurance enrollment efforts into school activities, including communication to school-based health centers and extracurricular programs, this partnership can strengthen the connection between schools and healthcare, and ultimately enroll more students in Medicaid and CHIP. Registration information is available here.