Friday Five - June 23, 2017

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June 23, 2017
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It’s Friday and this week in our Friday Five series, MAXIMUS is following how the Senate’s newly-released “Better Care Reconciliation Act” compares to other health care legislation; takeaways from the recent National Governors Association’s Governors’ Bipartisan Health Reform Learning Network meeting; and, why AARP’s long-term services and support (LTSS) Scorecard calls for greater improvement in states’ LTSS systems.

1. Five Things You Need to Know About the Senate’s Health Care Bill

The Senate yesterday released its health care bill, named the “Better Care Reconciliation Act.” While the bill proposes steep cuts to Medicaid, it also prohibits states from applying for waivers that would allow people with preexisting conditions to be charged more than others. TIME breaks down what’s in the Senate’s bill and how it stacks up against the Affordable Care Act and the House of Representatives’ American Health Care Act.

2. Why Does the Medicaid Debate Matter? National Data, Voices Weigh In

Medicaid remains a key factor in the national health care debate as Congress works to produce a new health care bill and GOP leaders call for far-reaching changes to Medicaid programs. Medicaid is so prevalent that nearly six in ten Americans say Medicaid is important for them and their family; the program is the nation’s major source of long-term care financing. The Kaiser Family Foundation lends insight into Medicaid’s role on the national stage and how new GOP legislation would affect the program.

3. Shared Priorities From the Governors’ Bipartisan Health Reform Learning Network

The National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices formed the Governors’ Bipartisan Health Reform Learning Network to provide a forum for states to discuss and identify concepts to strengthen state-federal partnerships related to public health. Established in March 2017, the Network met in June to address topics including state authority and flexibility, Medicaid expansion and waiver reform, long-term care and the opioid crisis. NGA reviews the Network’s findings and what issues its 13 member states say should be prioritized going forward.

4. Picking Up the Pace of Change: AARP’s 2017 Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports

While states have made incremental improvements to their long-term services and supports (LTSS) systems, the aging and disabled communities continue to grow at a rapid pace. In the US, 10,000 people turn 65 every day – and LTSS systems are struggling to keep up with such growth. AARP’s 2017 LTSS Scorecard explains why Washington and Minnesota are ranked as the top two states for LTSS, what led to Tennessee and New York’s significant LTSS system improvements, and how all states can “pick up the pace of change” to better meet LTSS needs.

5. Flexibility and Innovation Needed to Control Medicaid Costs

New research from Harvard Medical School and the Oregon Health and Science University reiterates the need for flexibility and innovation in Medicaid policies involving payment models, delivery of care and drug costs. The study notes that the Medicaid debate has lacked “consideration of policies that could improve the value of the Medicaid program” without reducing coverage or quality. HealthPayerIntelligence details the areas – from alternative approaches to delivery of care to increased integration of physical and behavioral health care – that could benefit from greater innovation and flexibility, and improve Medicaid service and efficiencies.

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