Friday Five: Proposed federal budget could dramatically impact Medicaid and SNAP

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March 15, 2019
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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about the Administration’s proposed 2020 federal budget, growing medical care needs for an aging population, a ridesharing proposal to address care access for Medicaid patients, and how robotic process automation could lead to additional AI initiatives.

1. Trump’s Medicaid budget plan could leave states and enrollees hanging

The Trump administration’s proposed 2020 budget includes $1.5 trillion in Medicaid cuts achieved through implementing a national work requirement, changing the funding formula for states, eliminating Affordable Care Act subsidies, and more. Modern Healthcare reports that the existing Medicaid waiver process would be replaced with a program allowing states unlimited flexibility but tight spending caps. The budget proposal could initially provide more federal money for some states, but offers lower federal funding over time.

2. America is dying: America’s aging population

In this opinion piece published by the Tufts Daily, the author argues that the United States needs to train more geriatricians as the population ages. While many primary care physicians currently treat the elderly, geriatricians are specially trained to treat age-related diseases.

3. Texas lawmakers look to Uber, Lyft to transport Medicaid patients

The Texas House passed a bill recently that would allow Medicaid managed care organizations to book transportation for patients using Uber or Lyft. According to the Houston Chronicle, the state already pays transportation companies to provide free rides for Medicaid patients; however, they must be booked days in advance. Proponents anticipate the new proposal will allow for quicker response times and save the state money.

4. RPA gains traction, paving the way for agency AI

The General Services Administration has more than 12 robotic process automation (RPA) projects underway and plans to add 24 more by the end of the year. GCN reports the bots are taking over repetitive work and managers believe they are the entry point to introducing artificial intelligence to federal agencies.

5. Trump's new budget resurrects controversial 'harvest box' proposal for food stamps as part of broader welfare reform

Congress rejected proposed changes to the Supplemental Food Assistance Program (SNAP) during the last budget cycle, however the Trump administration’s proposed 2020 budget includes some of those changes again. According to ABC News, the budget includes enhanced work requirements and uses a portion of benefits to provide recipients with a box of pre-packaged items. The proposed budget also limits the number of schools that can provide free lunches to all students. 

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