Major Health Policy Developments coming out of the Federal Administration

While Congressional efforts to change or repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) continue to be stalled, the federal administration announced two significant health policy developments at the end of last week – an Executive Order aimed at promoting access to plans not subject to the full range of ACA protections as well as the decision to stop making cost-sharing reduction payments immediately. [More]

Bipartisan Support for Child Protection Improvements Act Passes in the Senate

On October 16, 2017, the Child Protection Improvements Act (S. 705) was introduced by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Al Franken (D-MN) and was passed in the Senate by unanimous consent. This bill amends the National Child Protection Act of 1993 to establish a national criminal history background check system and criminal history review program for organizations that serve children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities. [More]

Legislators Tour PCG Public Partnership’s Multi-Lingual Call Center

SEATTLE — Washington state lawmakers representing the state’s most ethnically diverse legislative district in the state recently toured PCG Public Partnership’s Multi-Lingual Call Center, learning more about the variety of language services available to Washington state agencies. “Helping people is at the core of public service. PCG believes our multi-cultural center could help better facilitate conversations between the state and its customers, clients, and employees in new and different ways,” said Phil Hill, customer service operations manager with PCG Public Partnerships. [More]

Congress takes steps to reauthorize CHIP

On October 4, 2017, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee approved a bill that would reauthorize federal funding through FFY 2022 for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a program that currently serves over nine million low-income children. New funding authorization for CHIP expired on September 30, 2017. For now, states are operating CHIP on federal allotments left over from prior years. Those reserves vary widely from state to state. [More]

Improving outcomes with data and financial incentives around the world

Data driven decision making, long the norm in the private sector, is becoming prevalent in the public sector. This is true not only here at home, but also around the world as many countries grapple with how to improve outcomes while living within constrained budgets. Evidence-based policy making, using data to inform decisions, and paying for performance are all tools being used to improve results.
On September 18, 2017, Human Services Director Kathy Fallon had the great honor to speak to 20 finance ministers from 16 provinces in China. The daylong seminar was organized by Triway International and furthered their goal to bridge China with the rest of the world. The group began their week at Public Consulting Group (PCG) before heading to meetings with the Massachusetts Comptroller’s office, the Officer of the Inspector General, and the Treasurer of the City of Boston. [More]

Balance billing – a new report on recent efforts by state

PCG subject matter experts recently completed a survey report entitled “Balance Billing: Report of Recent Efforts to Protect Consumers.” The practice of balance billing is historically commonplace, but increased scrutiny on rising out of pocket health care costs is driving efforts to provide greater transparency into the practice.

For those states contemplating crafting consumer balance billing protections, this paper aims to provide a landscape of the options available, with national models from organizations like the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the National Conference of Insurance Legislators outlined. Additionally, our report includes a comprehensive list that outlines enacted and pending balance billing legislation in a variety of states. [More]

Developments in Section 1332 State Innovation Waivers

Progress has continued on state efforts to secure Section 1332 State Innovation Waivers. Oregon submitted a waiver application at the end of August, seeking support for a state-based reinsurance program, and that application has since been determined complete. Iowa submitted two recent updates to its pending waiver application, which it initially submitted in June. Its waiver application has also now been determined complete.

While those states await decisions on their applications, at the end of September, Minnesota received approval of its Section 1332 Waiver application that it submitted in May. [More]

The Demands of Foster Care

With increasing regularity, there is comment by publication, news article or editorial about the need for foster parents. Why? Because foster parents are an important partner of the child protection system; they provide care and safety to children who are unable to remain in their home environment. The ever evolving philosophy of child welfare reflects the research, practice, and leadership at any point in time in a state, county, or local organization. Jurisdictions are also affected by the service provider community and its philosophical, financial, and operational practices. All of these together complicate the capacity and practice in the foster care system. [More]

Senators introduce ACA repeal legislation

On September 13, 2017, U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham, Bill Cassidy, Dean Heller, and Ron Johnson introduced legislation to scrap many provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) while imposing funding caps on the traditional Medicaid program. The bill could become law under budget reconciliation rules that block a Senate filibuster. The bill could pass the Senate and House on a majority vote before September 30, 2017.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that it can’t comprehensively analyze the bill’s potentially adverse impact on health insurance premiums and coverage until next month. Congress will be acting this month based on a preliminary CBO analysis expected to show long-term federal budget savings. [More]