Long-Term Services and Supports Toolkit: Changes and Challenges in Financing and Delivery

The aging of the baby boomers and the increase in the number of old-old persons (those 85 and older) are predictors for the increasing need for long-term services and supports (LTSS). Among persons age 65 and over, an estimated 70 percent will use LTSS. A new Alliance for Health Reform toolkit, “Long-Term Services and Supports: Changes and Challenges in Financing and Delivery,” provides a background on LTSS and discusses policy issues surrounding the topic.

Medicaid 101: What You Need to Know

With some states grappling over whether to expand Medicaid, and Congress facing big decisions about the future of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), this briefing reviewed the basics about both programs and discuss current issues.

Health Care Behind Bars: A Key to Population Health?

This briefing explored innovations and challenges in delivering health care to a growing population of inmates, and also the prospect of health care in the correctional setting as a key to improving population health. This is an expensive group because of the large number of people with mental illness, addiction disorders, conditions associated with aging and Hepatitis C. Indeed, corrections spending is the second fastest-growing state expenditure, behind Medicaid, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Children’s Health Coverage: What You Need To Know

Approximately 8 million children with low to moderate incomes are covered under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and 39 million children are covered under Medicaid. (Most children who have coverage have private coverage). The number of uninsured children has decreased by half since the enactment of CHIP in 1997; however, with a new coverage landscape and CHIP funding set to expire in October 2015, questions arise about the current state and future of children’s health care coverage.

State Medicaid Expansion: The Third Way

To date, about half of states have moved forward with the Affordable Care Act’s optional Medicaid expansion. Now, additional states are pursuing an altogether different path that would allow them to use federal Medicaid funds to help low-income residents buy private coverage. Arkansas, Michigan and Iowa have already received federal Medicaid waivers and launched programs. Others are in various stages of drafting and negotiating. A few are considering block grants.

State Health Law Implementation: Race to the Starting Line – Philadelphia

The Philadelphia chapter of the Association of Health Care Journalists and the Alliance for Health Reform on Tuesday, June 18 held a special event to explore the challenges that Pennsylvania and New Jersey face this year leading up to the 2014 health law changes. This year the giant health law begins to move into its most climactic phase. Tens of millions of people are about to get health insurance, and this meeting will help reporters understand the epic challenges ahead.

Medicare-Medicaid Coordination for Dual Eligibles: What’s it All About?

Over nine million Americans receive benefits from both Medicare and Medicaid costing over $315 billion in health care services in the two programs combined. The dual eligibles account for 15 percent of the Medicaid population and almost 40 percent of all Medicaid expenditures for medical services; and 20 percent of the enrollees in Medicare, but 30 percent of the expenditures.

ACA 101: What You Need to Know

An April 26 briefing, ACA 101: What You Need to Know, was intended to be especially helpful to congressional staff members and others with limited knowledge of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), but also to be a useful review for anyone dealing with the complex issues leading up to major changes scheduled to take effect in 2014.

Medicaid 101: What You Need to Know

A March 1 briefing, Medicaid 101: What You Need to Know, was especially helpful to congressional staff members and others new to the issue, but it was also a useful review for anyone dealing with Medicaid issues, particularly as many states prepare to expand their programs.

Medicaid Expansion Briefing: What’s at Stake for States?

Following the Supreme Court’s decision this summer on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the nation’s governors and state leaders face the choice to participate or opt out of the Medicaid expansion. Currently, twelve states have decided to participate in the expansion, seven states have decided to opt out, and the remaining states have yet to announce their participation status. As state officials move forward with selecting an approach, a November 30 briefing examined the economic impact of expanding Medicaid to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

Health Care on the Brink of the Fiscal Cliff

As Washington attempts to steer clear of the “fiscal cliff,” it is important that policymakers, stakeholders and the public have a clear understanding of the components of this key policy crossroads and the likely consequences of inaction – on everything from expiring tax cuts to debt ceiling increases to scheduled budget reductions. The goal of a Nov. 16 briefing was to foster that understanding.

Medicaid Managed Long-Term Services and Supports: Are More Caution and Oversight Needed?

Medicaid can be as much as 25 percent or more of a state’s expenditures — a share that appears to be rising, not shrinking. In 2011 Medicaid accounted for 24 percent of total state spending, including federal grants. To address their budgetary challenges, an increasing number of states are turning to Medicaid managed care. As of 2009, 47 percent of all Medicaid beneficiaries were enrolled in a managed care plan. Looking to save money in categories where the most is being spent, more states are starting to enroll older beneficiaries and those with disabilities in such plans, not just for acute care services, but for long-term services and supports (LTSS).

Community Health Centers: Can They Plug the Gaps in the Safety Net?

Community health centers (CHCs) play a critical role in providing care to vulnerable populations, especially at a time when employer-sponsored coverage has declined and the demand for safety-net services has gone up. Currently, there are more than 1,100 community health centers providing care to approximately 20.2 million people in every state across the U.S.

Health Care After the Supreme Court Decision: What’s Next?

The Supreme Court has ruled on the constitutionality of the health reform law. Now it remains for stakeholders, policymakers, analysts and taxpayers to take it from here. Shifts in health care delivery towards more coordinated care to improve quality and efficiency are already taking place in the public and private sector. But many provisions in the law require specific actions to be taken and deadlines to be met by states, providers and others in order to implement various aspects of health reform scheduled to take effect in January, 2014.