Public Policy Update: May 27, 2010
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May 27, 2010
Bill to Extend Federal Medicaid Aid Stalled over Medicare Pay Fix – Contact Your Representatives Today!
An extension of enhanced federal assistance for Medicaid hangs in the balance as the House and Senate debate the cost and structure of a long-term “fix” to Medicare pay rates. H.R. 4213, the legislation that would extend for six months an increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), also includes a variety of unrelated tax credits, an extension of federal aid for the unemployed and several other programs that are not offset with revenue-generating provisions. The largest of the spending provisions is one that would delay a scheduled 21% decrease in Medicare reimbursement rates. Unable to reach agreement on the structure and cost of the Medicare pay fix for several days, negotiators in the House and Senate are now considering a scaled-back version of the pay fix that would be less costly and could attract votes from legislators who have expressed concern about the cost of the bill.
The House could vote on H.R. 4213 as early as Thursday, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has suggested he may hold the Senate in session beyond its scheduled Memorial Day recess in order to pass the bill. Now is the time to let Congress know how strongly you support the FMAP extension! Click here
to write your Representatives a message today!
New Report Shows Medicaid Expansion will Result in Higher Coverage Levels, More Federal Funding for States
The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured this week released the results of a state-by-state study of the impact of healthcare reform’s Medicaid expansion on coverage levels and state spending. The analysis found that nationally and across states:
- Medicaid expansions will significantly increase coverage and reduce the number of uninsured;
- The federal government will pay a very high share of new Medicaid costs in all states; and
- Increases in state spending are small compared to increases in coverage and federal revenues and relative to what states would have spent if reform had not been enacted.
Although the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act expands Medicaid to cover all individuals under 133% of poverty, the actual reach of the program will depend on how aggressively states reach out to and enroll eligible individuals. The report models two scenarios, one which assumes 57% participation among newly eligible individuals, and the other assuming 75% participation. State-by-state projections are available under each scenario for the total number of new Medicaid enrollees, the number of new enrollees who were previously uninsured, the percentage reduction in the number of uninsured, levels of federal and state spending, and more. You can view the full report, executive summary, and news release on the Kaiser website
National Council, Other Substance Abuse Organizations Sign Letter in Support of Increased Block Grant Funding
The National Council has joined 156 other national, state, and local organizations in signing on to a letter
to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees requesting a $210 million increase in the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant for Fiscal Year 2011. Each year, approximately 23.1 million Americans aged 12 or older need treatment for an alcohol or illicit drug problem – yet only 2.3 million receive treatment, resulting in high levels of unmet need. However, President Obama’s budget request for FY 2011 included no increase in SAPT grant funding. The letter to the Appropriations Committees notes that services funded by the SAPT Block Grant are highly effective, with clients demonstrating high abstinence rates at discharge from both illegal drug (73.7%) and alcohol (78.2%) use. Additional information and resources are available on the Federal Budget
page of our website, including a link to the substance abuse field requests for the FY 2011 budget.
CMS Releases State Health Official Letter on Olmstead Decision
In recognition of the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 10th anniversary of the Olmstead v. L.C. decision, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued a State Medicaid Director letter outlining its commitment to implementing solutions to barriers to community living for individuals with disabilities. The SMD letter also details the technical assistance tools available to states as they seek to ensure access to home- and community-based services. Additionally, it provides information about advancing access to affordable housing and long-term services and supports. The full text
of the letter is available online.
Do You Want to be In The Know? Connect with Key Administration, Congressional Staff at Hill Day 2010
At our 2010 Public Policy Institute and Hill Day
, the National Council is working to make sure you have access to the latest health policy information and to key Washington decision-makers. Our public policy sessions on June 29th will feature:
- Barbara Edwards, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will give the latest update on news out of CMS, including thoughts on healthcare reform implementation and the rehabilitation and case management state options.
- Andy Schneider, Chief Counsel, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, will present on “Healthcare Reform and the Medicaid Expansion.” The nationwide expansion of Medicaid to cover all individuals under 133% of poverty is one of the cornerstones of healthcare reform, with deep implications for any organization that serves Medicaid patients. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from the senior staff of the committee with jurisdiction over Medicaid.
- Charlie Cook of The Cook Political Report will give attendees a glimpse into the future of the 2010 midterm elections. With his encyclopedic knowledge of American politics, Cook will share his insights on what we can expect to see as the election season heats up.
- Linda Rosenberg, President & CEO and Chuck Ingoglia, Vice President of Public Policy at the National Council will provide the latest information on what to expect from healthcare reform and explore its impact on the behavioral health field. For a preview, check out Linda’s recent interview with Behavioral Healthcare.
Moreover, you’ll have the opportunity to network with hundreds of your colleagues from around the country, meet industry leaders, and make valuable connections with thought leaders in the field. Don’t miss out on these unique opportunities! Visit our Hill Day website
to register for Hill Day today.
Participate in National Mental Health Services Survey
Beginning in June 2010, the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will be conducting the 2010 National Mental Health Services Survey (N-MHSS). Previously conducted in 2008 as the National Survey of Mental Health Treatment Facilities (NSMHTF), the N-MHSS will collect statistical information to provide a current picture of mental health treatment utilization throughout the nation so that the mental health provider community and decision-makers have the latest data available for planning and allocating needed resources. Your participation is important to the success of this nationwide survey, and will help ensure that mental health treatment availability in your area is accurately represented. The information collected will also be used to update the Mental Health Facility Locator, which can be found on SAMHSA’s online Mental Health Services Locator
. The Facility Locator is a vital tool for mental health consumers, their families, and mental health professionals in locating needed mental health treatment services. Facilities that participate in the N-MHSS have the option of being listed in the Facility Locator free of charge.
The National Council supports this valuable data collection effort, and when your facility is contacted, we strongly encourage your participation. For more information about the N-MHSS, please visit http://info.nmhss.org