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Making Coverage Affordable for Families

August 16, 2011

As my colleague January Angeles has explained, the three draft regulations related to the Affordable Care Act that HHS and the Treasury Department issued last week will help people apply for coverage more easily. Unfortunately, one provision of the proposed Treasury rule could, if left standing, leave many people uninsured, undermining a core goal of health reform.

Does Medicaid Matter? New Study Shows How Much

July 7, 2011

As we noted recently, one of the charges that policymakers seeking radical changes in Medicaid have leveled against the program is that Medicaid coverage is worse than no coverage. A path-breaking study released today should put that bizarre claim to rest once and for all.

Misguided Attack on Medicaid

June 17, 2011

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) this week made several unfair and inaccurate attacks on Medicaid. Most egregiously, in his speech Wednesday at the Heritage Foundation, he repeated a recent claim by American Enterprise Institute analyst Scott Gottlieb that “Medicaid is worse than no coverage at all.”

More Evidence That Rhode Island’s Medicaid Waiver Isn’t a Model for Block Grant

May 16, 2011

Rhode Island’s Medicaid program has been operating under a federal waiver that proponents of block-granting Medicaid have cited as a model of Medicaid reform. But as today’s New York Times explains, “An examination of Rhode Island’s experience shows it has not yielded the kinds of savings its supporters claim.”

Fighting Health Reform (Again)

May 3, 2011

My colleague Sarah Lueck noted yesterday that the House will vote this week on a bill that would undermine health reform by repealing federal funding to set up health insurance exchanges in the states. Today, House and Senate sponsors will introduce bills that would undermine health reform in a different way: by repealing the law’s “maintenance of effort” provision. As our February report on this issue explained:

Governor Walker’s Misleading Claims on Medicaid

April 25, 2011

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker painted a misleading picture of Medicaid in his New York Times op-ed on Friday. Medicaid is neither obsolete nor inflexible and changing it to a block grant, as the House Republican budget that Walker supports would do, would significantly harm the millions of seniors, people with disabilities and children who rely on it every day.

Rhode Island Waiver Not a “Case Study” for Medicaid Block Grant

March 28, 2011

The Wall Street Journal editorialized today that the federal waiver under which Rhode Island operates its Medicaid program is a “case study” of the potential benefits of converting Medicaid to a block grant. Hardly.

Latest “Evidence” That Block-Granting Medicaid Would Help States? Hardly.

March 18, 2011

As we’ve noted, troubling proposals to convert Medicaid into a block grant are getting new attention, and a recent paper by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the conservative policy group American Action Forum, cites a demonstration project that Rhode Island is operating under a federal waiver as evidence that states would fare quite well under a block grant.

State Backtracking on Medicaid Would Weaken Health Reform

March 17, 2011

The health reform law requires states to maintain their current eligibility rules for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program until 2014, when new nationwide Medicaid rules will take effect that will help reduce the number of uninsured. Yesterday, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the Senate Finance Committee’s top Republican, asked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to grant waivers from this “maintenance of effort” (MOE) requirement to states that want to reduce their Medicaid and CHIP spending by covering fewer people. That would be a serious step backward for health reform.

House Bill Could Drive Many Away from Health Reform

March 3, 2011

The House will vote today on a bill that would seriously weaken health reform by imposing large tax penalties on many people who received subsidies to buy coverage in the health insurance marketplaces (“exchanges”) the law will set up. That would discourage many people from applying for subsidies in the first place, leaving more Americans to remain uninsured. It also could create a public backlash against health reform among people who bought coverage and then found themselves owing large sums to the IRS.