House Energy and Commerce Committee Holds Hearing on Revised Draft of ACE Kids Bill
On July 7 the Subcommittee on Health within the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on the revised draft of the Advancing Care for Exceptional (ACE) Kids Act. The revised bill maintains its focus on increasing quality of care for children with medically complex conditions (such as by improving data collection to determine best practices) while attempting to streamline processes to reduce the burden on families. During the hearing, a representative from Family Voices advocated for pediatrics-focused federal standards for health home providers, engagement of families in the construction of policy and practices, and the adoption of best practices regarding out-of-state care. The National Association of Medicaid Directors representative emphasized the need to move toward a less-fragmented system based on financial incentives that reward value. Other stakeholders, including Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare and Cook Children's Health System, emphasized the importance of national data collection so that improvements can be measured and national quality standards can be established. The House and Senate are seeking additional feedback on drafts of the legislation from stakeholders before proceeding further.
Bill Addressing Opioid Epidemic Signed into Law
On July 23 the president signed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act into law. The law addresses maternal and child health advocates' concerns with the opioid epidemic by providing states with grants for substance abuse treatment programs for pregnant and postpartum women while extending eligibility for these programs to women in prison. It also addresses Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, by requiring a report on its prevalence and the treatment options available under state Medicaid coverage. The law protects children by encouraging states to develop safe-care plans for infants who are affected by opioid usage.
Health Reform Implementation
2017 Assister Certification Training Now Available
As of July 11 the 2017 Assister Certification Training is available for use on the CMS Enterprise Portal. The training will be hosted by the Marketplace Learning Management System (MLMS); the web-based training platform for assisters providing application and enrollment assistance to consumers in Federally-Facilitated Marketplaces (FFMs), including State Partnership Marketplaces (SPMs) and certain State-based Marketplaces using the Federal Platform (SBM-FPs). For additional assistance with questions on the MLMS assister training, submit inquiries to MLMSHelpDesk@cms.hhs.gov. For assistance with CAC program questions, submit inquiries to CACQuestions@cms.hhs.govai. For assistance with Navigator program questions, submit inquiries to your CMS project officer.
AMCHP Releases Medicaid Parity Fact Sheet
AMCHP's Health Reform Implementation team recently released a fact sheet, Mental Health Parity for Medicaid & CHIP Populations. This resource is designed to help MCH professionals understand the final rules released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding parity requirements for Medicaid and CHIP plans. Keep an eye out over the next few weeks for new resources on pregnancy coverage and the ACA, 1332 waivers and how to lower non-medically indicated deliveries before 39 weeks gestation.
Urban Institute: Changing 'Family Glitch' Reduces Family Health Costs
More than six million people live in a family that is affected by the "family glitch" – meaning that one family member has an employer offer of single coverage deemed to be affordable and therefore all family members are ineligible for tax credits for marketplace coverage. These families are paying premiums that can amount to 15.8 percent of their household incomes. In a new report from the Urban Institute, a simulation study demonstrated that changing the affordability test to take into account the cost of family coverage would reduce spending on premiums to 6.3 percent, significantly alleviating financial burdens for such families.
National Governors Association Responds to Opioid Epidemic
The National Governors Association recently released a report, Finding Solutions to the Prescription Opioid and Heroin Crisis: A Road Map for States. The brief lays out a step-by-step process for states to follow in assessing prescription and other drug use in their states, developing policies to address the problem and implementing and evaluating state progress.