What We're Reading: GAO Slams CMS; Walker Gets Friendly Toward ACA; Opioid Bills in House

AJMC Staff

GAO Slams CMS on Slow Reporting of Section 1115 Results 

A study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that some states don’t complete evaluation reports of Medicaid Section 1115 waivers for up to 7 years after the demonstrations begin, thus failing to determine if the experiments are effective, Kaiser Health News reported. GAO also criticized CMS for failing to make the results publicly available quickly, “missing an opportunity to inform federal and state policy discussions,” according to the report. About one-third of Medicaid’s $300 billion annual spending goes to test programs.

Wisconsin Governor Proposes Reinsurance Plan, Other ACA Protections in Re-Election Year 

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is proposing a $200 million reinsurance program to cover high-cost patients in that state. It’s a turnabout for Walker, who is against the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but he is up for re-election this year. His plan would include some ACA protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Politico reported.

House Subcommittee to Start Discussing 8 Bills on the Opioid Crisis

The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee will hold a hearing on February 28 to discuss 8 bills released Thursday regarding enforcement-related measures to help stem the opioid crisis. The Hill reported that the hearing is the first of 3 on opioid legislation. Next Wednesday's hearing will focus on balancing enforcement with patient safety. The bills include steps like expanding access to behavioral health telemedicine in rural areas, updating scheduling guidelines on powerful synthetic opioids, letting hospice workers dispose of unused opioids, and more.
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