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What We're Reading: Reversal on Partial Expansion Funds; A New Medicare for All Warning; Cognition Test Training

AJMC Staff
The Trump administration will not give Utah or other states federal funding to partially expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act; if a Medicare for all system operates the same way as traditional Medicare, the program would be “wastefully expensive,” authors warn; the creator of the widely used screening test to screen for early signs of cognitive decline is insisting on training for those who administer it.

CMS Will Not Provide Enhanced Funding for Partial Medicaid Expansion

The Trump administration will not give Utah or other states federal funding to partially expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, The Washington Post reported. CMS authorized the state to move forward on a so-called “partial expansion” earlier this year to a limited number of people. Utah had hoped to receive additional US funding even though it was not fully expanding Medicaid. According to the report, the White House claimed that it did not make sense to approve the more generous funding while arguing in court at the same time that the entire ACA should be overturned.

 

Medicare for All Could Encourage Low-Value Care, Authors Say

What would a Medicare for all system cover? Most people are focused on taxes and access, but in a New York Times column, Austin Frakt, PhD, and Elsa Pearson, MPH, noted that unlike in other countries, which often refuse to pay for therapies where the cost exceeds the benefits, traditional Medicare rarely denies claims. In a 2018 report to Congress, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission noted that up to one-third of beneficiaries received some kind of low-value treatment in 2014, costing the program billions of dollars. If Medicare for all operated the same way, the program would be “wastefully expensive,” they wrote.

 

Cognitive Screening Test To Start Requiring Training, Fee in Effort to Refine Validity

The creator of the widely used screening test to screen for early signs of cognitive decline is insisting on training for those who administer it, Kaiser Health News reported. Starting September 1, most clinicians who administer the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) will be required to complete a 1-hour, $125 online course. Ziad Nasreddine, MD, said increasing concerns about the validity of test results, as well as possible liability for errors, spurred the changes. The test was used last year by President Donald Trump’s then-physician, who said the president scored a 30 out of 30.

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