What We're Reading: Expanding Private Care for Veterans; Michigan Medicaid Requirements; Workaround on 2019 Insurance Prices

President Trump has signed off on a bill to expand private care access for veterans; the Michigan House passed a revised Medicaid work requirement bill; and HHS will allow insurers to use a workaround for 2019 prices.

Expanding Private Care For Veterans

President Donald Trump has signed off on a bill that will give veterans more freedom to see doctors outside of the Veterans Affairs (VA) system, with the hopes of reducing wait times and improving care, reported The Wall Street Journal. The VA Mission Act seeks to overhaul the way veterans get private-sector care, close or consolidate underused facilities, and provide new incentives to hire doctors. Some lawmakers have expressed worry over the lack of clarity surrounding the funding of the bill.

Michigan Medicaid Work Requirements

The Michigan House has approved a revised Medicaid work requirement bill. The bill, if signed into law, would require adults aged 18 to 62 show 80 hours per month of workforce engagement, whether it be work, school, job, internship, substance abuse treatment, or community service, starting 2020. Changes made to the bill would allow for 3 months of noncompliance in a 12-month period, scale back the work requirements from 29 hours a week, exclude traditional Medicaid beneficiaries, and let community service count as qualifying activity for no more than 3 months of a year, according to The New York Times.

HHS to Allow Workaround on 2019 Insurance Prices

Kaiser Health News has reported that federal officials will not block insurance companies from again using a workaround to mitigate increases in health premiums. Coined as “silver loading” because it shifted price increases to silver-level plans, the workaround was used by many states for 2018 policies. While there was suggestionto bar the practice for the coming year, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said doing so would require regulations, which could not be achieved for the 2019 plan period.