Health Center Regulatory Issues, Uncategorized

CMS to allow ACA Medicaid expansion to be a “fully voluntary expansion”

By Susan Sumrell

Cindy Mann, Director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, spoke this week at the annual conference for the National Council of State Legislatures in Chicago and outlined the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) thoughts on the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruling and the impact on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansion.  As you may remember, the SCOTUS ruled that the Medicaid expansion was voluntary, and that states could choose to “opt in” or “opt out” of the expanded coverage in the ACA, which was intended to expand coverage to all individuals at or below 133% Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and would go into effect in 2014.

At the conference, Cindy Mann extended flexibility to the states, according to reports from the meeting, indicating that CMS would allow states to decide if and when they would join or drop out of the Medicaid expansion.  “In other words, it’s a truly voluntary expansion,” Mann said according to a Bloomberg BNA article on the meeting.   She also noted that states would be allowed to implement the Medicaid expansion in stages, if they choose to do so.

While we have not yet seen an official policy or communication from CMS on this, and they indicate that they are still analyzing the SCOTUS ruling and next steps, this news highlights the importance of health centers working with their states to ensure a full expansion in 2014.  Health centers and PCAs need to be in contact with their states to encourage a full expansion of the Medicaid program in 2014.  Click here to see a video recap of Cindy Mann’s comments at the NCSL conference.