MA Submits Medicaid Waiver Request to Feds + Tidbits
The Romney Administration has submitted the formal application for a new Medicaid waiver to the feds. Federal approval is crucial to ensure the continuing flow of federal dollars to the state to finance the health reform program approved by the Legislature and Governor last month. For those so inclined, you can actually view the waiver documents by clicking here. We highly recommend viewing the PDF file attached to: Safety Net Care Pool Sources and Uses. To view the best part quickly, click here. Someone up there at the Executive Office of Health & Human Services has a sense of humor about all of this. We wonder who it could be?
Also, we're waiting to learn about the first batch of appointments to the new Insurance Connector board. The Governor has three slots and the Attorney General also has three. Four appointments are ex officio Administration appointments. This entity will establish the new subsidized plans for folks with incomes below 300% of the federal poverty line, facilitate the creation of lower-cost plans for other uninsured folks and small businesses, set the affordability standards relative to the individual mandate and a lot more.
Elsewhere on the health reform front, Affordable Care Today (ACT!) -- the legislative health reform coalition -- will continue as the health reform implementation monitoring coalition moving forward, and will merge with another HCFA coalition called the MassHealth Defense Group, beginning in July. Tentative title for the new, merged coalition -- ACT!! Stay tuned.
On one other front, MassACT -- the coalition promoting the health reform ballot initiative -- will proceed with collection of the second set of required signatures to quality the initiative for placement on the November 2006 general election ballot. The Coalition, consisting of nine organizations, will collect the required 11,000 signatures between mid-May and mid-June, though no decision has been made whether or not to proceed to the November ballot. (Final date to deliver verified signatures to the Secretary of State is July 5th, 2006, 5pm.) Collecting the signatures is viewed at this point by the organizations as a form of "policy insurance" in the event an adverse or catastrophic event occurs against the new health reform law.
Like the feds refusing to approve the waiver and throwing the reform plan into disarray. Like the Senate refusing to override the Governor's vetoes. Like the Romney Administration messing up implementation. Or like something else unanticipated.
So don't be surprised to see MassACT volunteers out collecting signatures starting soon. And feel welcome to lend a hand. We're always ready for surprises.