Kip Piper's Health Care Blog
Medicare, Medicaid, Health Reform

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says it has found a more fair way to set federal matching rates for state spending on social programs such as Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Match rates that take into account differences among states in health costs, demand for services,...
Much of the story about rising health costs and spending has to do with relatively small groups of people with expensive health needs. For example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates Medicare beneficiaries with two or more chronic conditions accounted for 93 percent of Medicare spending...
The term “post-acute care” (PAC) covers a range of services patients receive after a hospital stay. Skilled nursing facilities, home health care agencies, long-term care hospitals, and inpatient rehabilitation hospitals all provide post-acute care. PAC providers are an important part of efforts to reduce hospital readmissions, which are a...
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has answered some questions about how Arkansas’s creative plan to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The plan, which Gov. Mike Beebe put forward, would use federal Medicaid expansion money to give premium subsidies for Medicaid beneficiaries to enroll...
State Medicaid programs will spend about $175 billion this year on health care for dual eligibles - low-income seniors and persons with disabilities who receive benefits from both Medicare and Medicaid.  State spending on dual eligibles falls primarily in three areas:  long term services and supports (nursing home, home...
Many new care models in both the public and private sector focus on people with chronic diseases, particularly conditions like diabetes, congestive heart failure, and hypertension. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Care Coordination/Home Telehealth (CCHT) pilot program serves veterans at risk of needing long term care for chronic conditions. Physician...
Love it or hate it, the Affordable Care Act is unprecedented in size, scope, complexity, and uncertainty.  To project its impact, numerous policy, economic, competitive, and behavioral factors must be considered and assumptions made.  From an analytical perspective, the ACA is a simultaneous, non-linear equation from hell. A number of...
What's the impact on patient care, particularly prescription drug utilization, as Medicaid beneficiaries move from fee-for-service to Medicaid health plans?  This year, state Medicaid programs will spend over $22.1 billion on pharmacy benefits. This will grow to about $50 billion by 2020, according the CMS actuaries. Nearly half of Medicaid prescriptions...
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created a trade-off for providers, particularly hospitals: On the one hand, Medicare fee-for-service hospital payments will be cut by $260 billion over 10 years. Some people newly eligible for Medicaid will switch from private insurance, which pays much higher provider rates than Medicaid does....
Some states have expressed interest in using premium assistance to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Instead of serving the new ACA Medicaid expansion population through the Medicaid delivery system (through Medicaid health plans or Medicaid fee-for-service, depending on the state), the new enrollees would be...

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