Budget Blog

September 23, 2021 - Health Care Issues Update

By Stacey Mazer posted 23 days ago


Analysis of State Medicaid Home and Community-Based Spending Plans

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) included a temporary 10 percentage point increase to the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) for certain Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) from April 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requires states to submit quarterly spending plans outlining proposed activities for the funding. This summary by ADvancing States organizes the state plans submitted to CMS by proposed activities.

In addition, CMS released a HCBS voluntary survey designed to facilitate comparisons across state Medicaid HCBS programs.


FDA Authorizes Booster Dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for Certain Populations

Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to allow for use of a single booster dose, to be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series for certain populations. These groups are individuals 65 years of age and older; individuals 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe COVID-19; and individuals 18 through 64 years of age whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 puts them at high risk of serious complications of COVID-19 including severe COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is meeting today to discuss a recommendation on booster shots.


HHS Announces $350 Million to Strengthen Maternal and Child Health

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced nearly $350 million in awards to every state to support safe pregnancies and healthy babies. Funding will expand home visiting services to families most in need, increase access to doulas, address health disparities in infant deaths, and improve data reporting on maternal mortality.


CMS Awards $15 Million for Mobile Crisis Intervention Planning

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded $15 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for planning grants to 20 states to support expanding community-based mobile crisis intervention services for Medicaid beneficiaries. The period of performance for this grant will be from September 30, 2021, through September 29, 2022.


CMS Releases Final Rule on Updated Payment Parameters, Section 1332 Waivers, and Improvements in Health Insurance Markets 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final rule setting standards for issuers, health insurance marketplaces, and navigators that extends the open enrollment period for 2022 and beyond, expands services provided by federally-facilitated marketplace navigators, and makes changes to Section 1332 waiver policies. Beginning this year, consumers will have an extra 30 days to review and choose health plans through Open Enrollment, which will run from November 1, 2021 through January 15, 2022, on HealthCare.gov.


CDC Investing $2.1 Billion to Strengthen Infection Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced $2.1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to improve infection prevention and control activities across the public health and health care sectors. Over the next 3 years, CDC will issue $1.25 billion of the total to 64 state, local, and territorial health departments to support this work; initial awards totaling $885 million will be made in October 2021 to these jurisdictional health departments.


Modernizing Immunization Information Systems

This issue brief by the National Governors Association outlines key priorities and considerations for modernizing immunization information systems, including leveraging federal funding available to support these efforts. Governors have the opportunity to leverage federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and other COVID supplemental funds to both improve current response efforts and make lasting investments in public health infrastructure.


2021 State Legislative Efforts to Curb Health System Costs 

This summary by the National Academy for State Health Policy looks at 2021 state legislative actions to address health system costs. Eighteen states and DC enacted 28 laws in 2021, with different strategies and frameworks to address rising health care costs.