Capitol Correspondence - 03.18.19

CMS Administrator Verma Issues Guidance, Shares Update on Two High Profile Medicaid Proposals

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ANCOR is sharing two links because of their relevance to people with disabilities and the frontline staff who help them live life like everyone else. The first is to article by Fierce Healthcare on Medicaid work requirements, and the other to an interview with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma by Politico’s podcast Women Rule.

As shared by Fierce Healthcare:

“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services rolled out new monitoring and evaluation tools for Medicaid Section 1115 waivers on Thursday—the same day the controversial work requirements went before a judge.

CMS unveiled the guidance and resources that set monitoring metrics and suggest research approaches for Medicaid demonstrations approved by Section 1115 waivers. 

While the agency said it “ushered in a new era in Medicaid” by approving waivers, including work requirements in several states, it said the new tools will enable it to better monitor how well demonstrations are working. 

In an accompanying blog post, CMS Administrator Seema Verma wrote that it’s crucial for states to have flexibility options through these waiver demonstrations, as the Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid to a population it was not built originally to serve, namely childless adults without disabilities. 

The guidance, Verma said, allows CMS to be flexible in allowing states to test approaches in Medicaid to meet their individual populations while also allowing for strong oversight of such demonstrations.”

Relevant to the discussion in her blogpost, Seema Verma stated to the Women Rule podcast interviewer that she considered it her job to help states get to where they want to go (see the 9-minute mark of the audio recording).

As shared by Politico:

“After Trump took office, Verma and other administration officials joined with a number of Republican governors in seeking to change the rules so that states could offer a partial Medicaid expansion — covering only individuals who make up to 100 percent of the poverty line, for instance — while still receiving full federal funding. The proposal, controversial within the White House, was initially nixed by the president in July 2018. Now, Verma says, it’s being reconsidered.

‘We are changing the partnership between the federal and state government. We are trying to empower states,’ Verma told POLITICO, arguing that a change in the federal-state relationship will be a major component of the Trump administration’s legacy on health care.”