Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What's next at the national level with health care reform?

The Colorado Health Policy Coalition met last week and shared this via email after the gathering:

"Thanks to the more than 60 of you who joined us yesterday for our panel discussion on Medicaid in the context of federal health reform. And huge thanks to our excellent panelists, Sue Birch, Jeff Bontrager, Joan Henneberry and Bill Lindsay, for sharing their time, insights and expertise with us. As follow up from the meeting, attached please find:
·      High level summary notes of the panelists’ comments
·      Colorado Medicaid and CHIP handouts from the CO Department of Health Care Policy and Financing

Additionally, here are a few other resources that were referenced in remarks made in the meeting and / or relevant to the conversation:
·      “Medicaid is too expensive not to cut and too critical to decimate,” Denver Post Editorial, May 29, 2017
·      “The Senate’s Medicaid Moment,” Wall Street Journal Editorial (subscription required), June 6, 2017
·      Medicaid in Small Towns and Rural America: A lifeline for Children, Families and Communities, Georgetown Center for Children and Families and University of North Carolina NC Rural Health Research Program, June 2017
·      Urban Institute report on how Medicaid spending disparities among states is problematic for a per capita cap approach, September 2016
·      “With or without Washington, states are already remaking Medicaid,” Politico, June 12, 2017

Clearly there are both political and policy questions that face us: how do we best engage in the political discussions happening in Congress and at the US Department of Health and Human Services to help shape federal policy change? How do we best engage in efforts locally to prepare Colorado for whatever lies ahead? We clearly heard from the panelists a need for engagement in both arenas – political and policy.

We’ll be working with the CHPC’s informal steering committee on next steps, including a new sign-on letter for the broad coalition. We will also continue monitoring the situation in Washington and providing email updates on the rapidly changing landscape there. And, as always, we are here to serve as a resource for your organization’s individual advocacy efforts. As a reminder, we have fact sheets, profiles stories of Coloradans from different parts of the state who would be impacted by changes to various provisions of the Affordable Care Act and are happy to help answer questions, track down data and / or connect you with other organizations in the coalition that may share your priorities. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

For those of you feeling a sense of urgency to engage our U.S. Senators to express your opposition the American Health Care Act (the bill passed in the US House) and/or specifically the proposed changes to Medicaid, please check in with the Protect Our Care Colorado coalition, a local coalition of primarily consumer advocacy groups being led by the CO Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI). For more information about or to get involved with Protect Our Care CO, contact CCHI Executive Director, Adela Flores-Brennan."

Latest from CO Dept. of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF)

Friday, June 2, 2017

What's next at the national level with health care reform?

The Colorado Health Policy Coalition shared this on Tuesday:

"While the U.S. Senate is out of session for its Memorial Day recess this week, word is that
they have started drafting their health care bill. No formal timetable for introduction of the bill has been released, but it is rumored that the Senate could have a draft bill to share as early as next week.
Updated CBO Analysis of AHCA
As we shared with you last week, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released an updated analysis of the American Health Care Act, as passed by the House. Here are a few good pieces on the new report:
10 Key Points from the CBO Report on Obamacare Repeal, Politico, May 24
New CBO AHCA Estimate, Health Affairs Blog, May 25
CBO Score Underlines GOP Tensions on Obamacare Repeal, The Hill, May 26
New AHCA CBO Report Changes Very Little, Forbes, May 30"

Have you checked out the resources to get active through the Protect Our Care Colorado campaign (a coalition managed by the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative)? The campaign shared this yesterday:

"The U.S. Senate is negotiating their version of the bill. These backroom negotiations on the future of our health care are being held by a group of conservative and moderate Republican Senators, including Colorado's Senator Cory Gardner.

This means Coloradans have a key role to play in whether this repeal effort continues or what form it takes in the Senate, but because the negotiations are taking place in secret, we don't yet know what the Senate is actually considering. Call Cory Gardner to demand transparency and ask him to protect Colorado’s health care.
Keep Calling our Senators!
Tell them to reject repeal and protect Coloradans with pre-existing conditions!
Senator Gardner -  Denver: (303) 391-5777 DC: (202) 224-594
Senator Bennet - Denver: (303) 455-7600, DC: (202) 224- 5852

Want to do something beside making calls and sending emails?
Consider submitting a letter-to-the-editor to a newspaper in your area. Here's a quick guide you can use.

Updated Messaging on Medicaid cuts in the AHCA:

Many healthcare providers -- especially rural hospitals -- will be forced to close as a result of these cuts. These cuts will be a disaster for Colorado’s rural communities and rural Coloradans will have less access to the care they need, when they need it.

Medicaid helps seniors pay for nursing home care and long-term care services in their home that Medicare does not cover. With a quickly growing older population in Colorado, this is important to Colorado’s overall health.

Children and Families:
Children who have Medicaid are more likely to attend school, graduate from high school and attend college than those who are uninsured. Cutting Medicaid will make it harder for children to succeed.

Economic Stability:
Congress wants to pass the buck and shift the costs to states and middle-class working families, all while giving a tax break to the very wealthy. This is not a solution. The costs are still there, and Colorado can’t afford to pick up the tab.

State Flexibility:
Medicaid is very flexible now for Colorado. The program allows our state to make decisions around eligibility, benefits, premiums, and cost-sharing, as well as provider payment. Colorado is efficient and innovative with Medicaid dollars.

Opioid Epidemic:
Medicaid is critical to fighting the opioid epidemic. Gutting Medicaid will disrupt addiction treatment coverage for millions of Americans and hinder states’ ability to fight this crisis.

Market Stability:
Without Medicaid, the private insurance market and Medicare will not work. Medicaid is a critical part of our healthcare system as a whole.

There are other ways to take action today. Please share with your networks and friends:
If you have 2 minutes: 
  • Use Social media to tell our Senators to reject repeal and protect Coloradans with pre-existing conditions!. Tag @SenCoryGardner, @SenBennetCO. 
  • Share this story about Linda and Javi, two people who depend on medicaid: Medicaid gives Linda and Javi hope for the future. Watch their story & tell Congress #HandsOff Medicaid
  • Share Healthier Colorado’s Ad asking Senator Cory Gardner to Protect our Health Care:
If you have 15 minutes: 
  • Share your story. Stories are powerful and sharing them is making a difference. 
If you have an hour: Show up in person! 
  • Pay your respects to the end of health care: March to tell Cory Gardner his agenda is a death sentence for Colorado
  • Organize or Join Actions with Allies PPFA, MoveOn and Indivisible. You can find an event below to join or organize your own. These events are listed on a central website and you can find them here:
Join Us: The Protect Our Care Colorado Campaign is growing! Other organizations can join online here."

Latest from CO Dept. of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF)

Friday, May 26, 2017

What's next at the national level with health care reform?

The Colorado Health Policy Coalition shared this on Wednesday:

"As promised, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their revised analysis of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) based on the bill as it passed the House. You can read the analysis here:

As compared to analysis of the earlier version of the AHCA, the CBO found that this version of the bill would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion - an amount $32 billion less than earlier versions of the bill. The number of uninsured Americans would be 23 million higher than projections of coverage under current law, representing a slightly lower increase in the number of uninsured Americans than what was projected under the previous version of the AHCA.

The analysis offers helpful insight into the nature of coverage and likely impacts on market stability."
Continue to stay engaged with the Protect Our Care Colorado campaign as the Senate works on its version of the health care bill!

Latest from CO Dept. of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF)

This week HCPF hosted a webinar outlining Medicaid Primary Care Payment Reform. If you are a Medicaid provider, I encourage you to click here to watch the recorded webinar so you are aware of important upcoming changes to Medicaid primary care payments!

This state legislative session saw the passage of bill regarding Medicaid's Accountable Care Collaborative (ACC). The Center for Health Progress (formerly CCMU) managed some of the education regarding the ACC during this process and shared this wrap-up info recently:
  • "HB 1353 was introduced and amended with stakeholder feedback, and the bill is intended to codify the ACC in statute and formalize some reporting requirements related to Phase 2. This will help legislative engagement as well as HCPF budgetary requests in the future, which will lead to  
  • Many of you signed on in support of the bill. For reference, I have attached the latest HCPF fact sheet I have, which might not be the most updated one. If your organization is missing from the fact sheet, feel free to reach out to Zach Lynkiewicz with HCPF to get the latest version.
  • This bill passed in the final days of the session, despite a rocky start in its first committee. It is now awaiting the governor's signature. Hard work from many groups made this bill happen, so thank you.
  • We were able to use this opportunity to raise legislators' understanding and knowledge of the ACC, and we anticipate this to be an ongoing need.
ACC General Legislative Education
  • With all of your help, we created the finalized fact sheet sharing organizations' support of the ACC as a concept as well as the concepts of ACC phase 2. We encouraged everyone to share the handout in their own meetings with legislators. The final sheet is attached.
  • Center for Health Progress lobbyists met with 6 prioritized legislators who are seen as health experts to ensure that they have the adequate background and understanding of the ACC so they can engage in conversations at the Capitol related to the bill or outside of the bill. The meetings were well-received, and when appropriate, we had constituent organizations follow up via email with those legislators to confirm the support within their districts.
  • Initially, we had planned on meeting with many more legislators and contacting the remainder via email; however, as the legislative session swung into high-speed at its halfway point, it became more challenging to set up meetings with legislators without a bill at hand. We had to prioritize which legislators to target and hope to get to most everyone through the bill discussion.
ACC Phase 2 RFP Released!
  • As many of you have seen already, the RFP for Phase 2 is public with the deadline for bids on July 28." 

Monday, May 22, 2017

What's next at the national level with health care reform?

The Colorado Health Policy Coalition shared this earlier today:

"While health care has largely taken a back seat to news about appointment of a special counsel to investigate ties between the Trump campaign and Russia and the President’s first trip abroad, there are some important developments to be aware of:
·      President’s Budget to Include Significant Cuts to Medicaid – President Trump will release his first comprehensive budget proposal tomorrowTuesday, and it is expected to include hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to Medicaid, reflecting his support of Medicaid policy changes outlined in the American Health Care Act. You can read details in coverage from BloombergThe Washington Post, and The Hill
·      Revised CBO Score of AHCA to be Released this Wednesday – The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced on Friday that it will release a revised analysis of the American Health Care Act, as passed by the House, this Wednesday, May 24. The CBO score of an earlier version of the AHCA, released in March, projected that the policy would reduce federal deficits by $337 billion and that 24 million Americans would lose health insurance by 2026; however, the bill was substantially amended in April in order to garner the support needed to pass the bill, so it will be interesting to see what the new analysis of the bill projects.
·      New Developments in Legal Fight Over CSR Payments – The Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments made to insurers under the Affordable Care Act are a key provision to ensuring market stability and have been a political hot button for the last number of months.  Last week, a group of 15 states (Colorado not included) and Washington D.C. filed a motion in the pending court case to argue for continuation of the payments, saying that ending payments would put health insurance for millions of people in jeopardy, thus exposing states to increased financial burden of a higher uninsured population. Learn more about this new motion from this Business Insider article published Friday.  Politico is reporting this morning that the Trump administration will seek another 90-day delay in the lawsuit. The uncertainty about the future of the CSR payments and health care policy more broadly is leading to increased premiums and marketplace instability, as reported last Thursday in this LA Times article.
·      Senate Working on Health Care Bill – In the midst of these developments, members of the US Senate are working on their version of health reform bill. Very few details have been shared and nothing official has been released, but it is rumored that, as compared to the House bill, the Senate bill will make subsidies for private coverage more generous for lower income Americans and will phase out the Medicaid expansions more slowly. Still, no timeline for action has been released and there are many different opinion as to when the Senate may have something to consider. Here are a couple of good recent stories about what the Senate is up to.
o   52 ways to repeal Obamacare, Politico, May 11"
Continue to stay engaged with the Protect Our Care Colorado campaign as the Senate works on its version of the health care bill!