July 5 Update

In This Week’s Update:

  • Maternal Health
  • Children’s Uninsurance
  • Building Community Power
  • State Health System Performance
  • State Updates: CA, CT, MA, NM, OK, OR, VT & WI

Combating Maternal Mortality and Morbidity

Last week, the Biden administration released a Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis which provides a whole-of-government approach to combating maternal mortality and morbidity. The Blueprint outlines five priorities to improve maternal health outcomes in the United States.

As a reminder, State Health & Value Strategies (SHVS) has several resources focused on improving maternal health: an issue brief on the American Rescue Plan Act’s state option to extend postpartum coverage; an issue brief that explores promising approaches to reducing disparities in birth-related health outcomes in Medicaid; and an issue brief and companion webinar on Medicaid’s role in combating the maternal mortality and morbidity crisis. 

New Urban Institute Research: Children’s Uninsurance

The pandemic and associated economic downturn threatened to increase children’s uninsurance, building on coverage losses that occurred between 2016 and 2019 and threatening decades of progress in reducing children’s uninsurance rates. A new brief from the Urban Institute explores children’s coverage changes using survey data and administrative data on children’s enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Marketplace coverage through early 2022. The brief, Children’s Uninsurance Fell between 2019 and 2021, but Progress Could Stall When Pandemic Protections Expire, finds that policies such as the continuous coverage provision in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the American Rescue Plan Act, and other economic recovery efforts seem to have protected children’s insurance coverage and may have even contributed to a decline in uninsurance by the end of 2021. But without federal and state actions to maintain the enhanced Marketplace subsidies and limit coverage losses when the continuous coverage requirement expires, children’s uninsurance could once again increase in 2022 and beyond.

Building Community Power to Achieve Health and Racial Equity

A new commentary from the National Academy of Medicine discusses an emerging emphasis on building community power and why it is essential to achieving health and racial equity, highlighting a set of values and principles to guide practitioners, researchers, and leaders in transforming how they work with communities to build their power. The commentary, Building Community Power to Achieve Health and Racial Equity: Principles to Guide Transformative Partnerships with Local Communities, highlights learnings from “Lead Local: Community-Driven Change and the Power of Collective Action,” a collaborative effort funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that convened well-respected local organizations and leaders in the fields of community organizing, advocacy, and research to examine the relationship between health and power building.

2022 Scorecard on State Health System Performance

The Commonwealth Fund’s annual State Scorecard uses the latest data available to assess healthcare systems in every state on measures of access, quality, cost and outcomes. For the first time, this year’s Scorecard also assesses state responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings offer considerations for policymakers looking to strengthen insurance coverage and care delivery systems to better withstand future health emergencies.

  • California – Governor Gavin Newsom signed a fiscal 2023 budget that provides $628 million to extend Medi-Cal eligibility to income-eligible undocumented adults between the ages of 26 and 49, an estimated 698,000 people. As a result, California will be the first state to provide healthcare to all residents irrespective of immigration status. Medi-Cal is already available to income-eligible children, young adults and seniors regardless of immigration status. The budget also includes $100 million to develop and manufacture low-cost biosimilar insulin products to increase insulin availability and affordability in California.

  • Connecticut – Access Health CT, the state’s health insurance marketplace, announced an expansion to the Covered Connecticut Program. The program, which launched July 1, 2021, eliminates out of pocket costs for Marketplace enrollees up to a certain income level. As of July 1, 2022, the program expands eligibility and now provides dental coverage and non-emergency medical transportation benefits.

  • Massachusetts – CMS notified the Executive Office of Health and Human Services that it approved a temporary extension of the state’s section 1115 demonstration MassHealth. The temporary extension is until September 30, 2022 and will allow CMS and the state to continue to negotiate Massachusetts’ demonstration application submitted in December 2021.

  • New Mexico – The New Mexico Department of Health announced that the state will be the first in the nation to implement statewide a new payment system for shoppers and farmers during the 2022 season for the New Mexico Department of Health, Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) and Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, which begins July 1. The new system allows both WIC and senior participants and program-approved farmers to use a mobile app to make and receive electronic payments. This system is free to all WIC approved farmers, and anyone without a smartphone is provided with a Shopper Card, much like a debit card, that allows farmers to easily scan for payment.

  • Oklahoma – Attorney General John O’Connor announced another opioid settlement for Oklahoma—this time with three opioid distributors, McKesson, Cardinal, and AmerisourceBergen. The settlement will deliver more than $250 million to Oklahoma to combat the opioid epidemic.

  • Oregon – As of July 1, 2022 the Oregon Health Authority will implement a state-funded program offering health insurance to 12,000 low-income, undocumented residents aged 19 to 25 and 55 and up. The Legislature created the program in 2021.

  • Vermont – CMS approved an extension of the state’s Global Commitment to Health Section 1115 Medicaid waiver through 2027. The approval allows the state to continue existing programs and implement new initiatives for housing assistance, health information technology, maternal health, and substance use disorder.

  • Wisconsin – Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announcedWisconsin’s SeniorCare Program has received approval from CMS to cover certain vaccines that members receive in pharmacies. Vaccines covered include those that protect against shingles, tetanus, meningitis, and Hepatitis A and B.