Budget Blog

August 5, 2021 - Health Care Issues Update

By Stacey Mazer posted 08-05-2021 04:31 PM


CMS Proposed Rule Allows Medicaid Payments on Behalf of Certain Health Care Workers

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed rule would allow state Medicaid agencies to make payments to third parties on behalf of certain individual health care practitioners, including home care workers and personal care assistants. This rule would apply to the class of individual practitioners for whom Medicaid is their primary source of revenue; many of these workers provide home and community-based services. These changes would make it easier for those workers to obtain and retain health insurance, training, and other employee benefits. The Reassignment of Medicaid Provider Claims proposed rule comes in response to a 2020 United States district court ruling that vacated a 2019 final rule. The 2019 rule prohibited states from making these types of payments to third parties. This proposed rule would reestablish this payment flexibility.


Use of Federal Funds to Provide Incentives to Support COVID-19 Vaccination Response 

State, territorial, tribal, and local governments can use State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds as well as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Immunization Funds to provide incentives to increase the number of people who choose to get vaccinated, or that motivate people to get vaccinated sooner than they otherwise would have. The Administration held a webinar today to discuss Treasury’s and CDC’s guidance, including the Treasury’s Frequently Asked Questions and Interim Final Rule, about programs that provide incentives expected to increase the number of people who choose to get vaccinated so long as such costs are reasonably proportional to the expected public health benefit. The President called on state, territorial, and local governments to provide $100 payments for every newly vaccinated American as an extra incentive to boost vaccination rates.


CDC Issues New Federal Eviction Ban Until October 3

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a moratorium on evictions for 60 days for U.S. counties with substantial and high levels of community transmission of COVID-19. The eviction moratorium allows additional time for rent relief to reach renters and to further increase vaccination rates.


SAMHSA Awards $250 Million to Certified Community Behavioral Centers

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded 100 grants to increase access to facilities throughout the country that provide community-based support for Americans in need of substance use disorder and mental health treatment services, totaling $250 million. Of the total, $77 million is allocated from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to help expand the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics program. A list of recipients can be found here.


HHS Issues Data Brief on Health Coverage for Working-Age Adults with Disabilities

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a data brief that examines the changes in health coverage for working-age adults with disabilities and highlights issues regarding health disparities and challenges regarding access to care. The brief shows that working-age adults with disabilities who had health insurance coverage increased from about 71 percent to 81 percent after the Affordable Care Act. While working-age adults with disabilities have experienced major gains in full-year coverage since 2010, they remained less likely to have health insurance than adults without disabilities.


States’ Efforts to Address Pharmacy Costs During 2021 Legislative Sessions

The issue brief from the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) summarizes actions during state legislative sessions to address pharmacy costs. During this past session, 20 states enacted 43 laws to address rising drug costs, an increase from the 17 states that enacted 41 laws last year. Enacted laws include establishing a drug affordability board, regulating pharmacy benefit managers, and requiring drug price transparency.