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Clay’s Weekly Medicaid RoundUp: Week of April 30th 2018

Soundtrack for today’s RoundUp pessimist readers- http://bit.ly/2HSgc0S

For optimist readers- http://bit.ly/2wbzcGu

 

LET’S JUST PRETEND THERE IS AN ENDLESS SUPPLY OF MONEY FOR MEDICAID AND EDUCATION. YOU KNOW, IT’S FOR THE KIDS- A new study finds that investments in public education (higher ed in particular) are the only budget item decreasing in recent years (since 1987 if you want to get precise. Please help me continue the fantasy that 1987 was not 31 years ago). It also finds that Medicaid is the single biggest reason less money is being spent on your local college. Here’s a link to the study- http://bit.ly/2HRqGxP

 

LOTS OF UPDATES ON STATE FLEXIBILITY REQUESTS TO CMS- The next several items are part of a larger trend in activity on the state flexibility requests front.

 

VERMA TOYS WITH NEW SUBSIDY? There’s a new donut hole in town. The one between Medicaid and exchange ineligibility. Recent comments from CMS head Seema Verma have some analysts looking for a new subsidy that would help pay costs for those who make too much for Medicaid but also too much to get an exchange subsidy. Keep an eye on this one, but don’t spend too much time on it. I don’t see newer tax-payer funded payments for able-bodied adults in keeping with the current Verma Vibe.

 

MICHIGAN WORK REQUIREMENTS BILL DEBATED THIS WEEK- Supporters point to 100k unfilled jobs in Michigan, and the 47k Medicaid members who would be required to find work.

 

OHIO MOVES FORWARD WITH WAIVER APP TO CMS- We now have a new one in the hopper as of Monday. Kasich was reportedly found sobbing in a closet in Toledo when he heard the news. This one has pretty normal exemptions – no one over 55, no one seeking substance abuse treatment, and no one with serious physical or mental health issues. About 5% of expansion enrollees (you know that group that never had Medicaid until the magic wand of Obama fixed healthcare for everyone by ballooning Medicaid to ginormous sizes) will be subject to the requirements. From what I have read, you and I also have to go to work on Monday. #Resist!

 

LOUISIANA AUTHORIZES ENFORCEMENT OF BASIC MEDICAID ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENT- In the “wait- aren’t they already doing that department?”, LA has passed a bill (in the house only, still time to #Resist! in the Senate) that would allow the state auditor to review income tax returns to verify Medicaid eligibility. How dare they?

 

THE LAST FRONTIER TAKES LAST STAND AGAINST MEDICAID BUDGET IMPLOSION- AK Senator passed a work requirements bill this week to require about 10% of bennies to work. It will force pregnant women who are on crutches waiting in line for opioid treatment to work 100 hours a week. Just kidding you silly goose! All the normal exemptions are baked into this one. Track SB 193 if interested- here’s a link: http://bit.ly/2wdJ1Up

 

SEVERAL IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

 

WELLCARE DOING WELL- Net income was up 51% YOY in Q12018 (now at $102M vs $67M for same quarter in 2017). While there’s a lot going on driving the success, expanding Medicare Advantage business is a big part of the story. There have also been decreased Rx costs in both its Caid and Care programs (not sure what drugs, or what programs have driven down costs – may be a good success story in there for some med-management / case-management program?). Finally, a lower tax-burden based on Evil Darth Trump’s tax cuts helped to increase the net income number as well.

SPECIAL SEGMENT THIS WEEK: FARRIS’S MEDICAID FAKE NEWS FOCUS- For years I have smiled at the immaturity of “newspapers” who publish “cutting Medicaid will kill babies” headlines. Now its just time to shame them. If some idiot can claim fiscal policy in modern America will kill babies when Medicaid is cut, then others can claim cutting education (surprise- because of runaway Medicaid spending done at the barrel of an emotional gun loaded with “cut my Medicaid budget and kids will die!”) will kill babies, too. Long wind-up. Winner of this week’s Lazy Thinking, Political Bullying Award goes to Detroit Free Press for “Here’s why Michigan Medicaid work requirements will kill people.” Pshaw. Save it for the White House Correspondent’s Dinner you hacks.

FARRIS’S FANTASTIC FRAUD FOLLIES– And now for everybody’s favorite paragraph. Let’s start the ticker and see who wins this week’s award. Shephard Spruill of Raleigh, NC got sentenced this week for stealing $6M from North and South Carolina Medicaid (2 states – impressive). David Johnson of Detroit was sentenced this week for his role in stealing $1.7M from Medicaid by billing under another dentist’s provider number for 3 years. Interesting fact about this one – once the PoPo was onto him, Johnson fled to the Dominican Republic to evade arrest and was picked up by federalis there. Mr. Spruill – you win this week’s award! (Not much by way of fraud this week. We must have fixed the problem last week).

That’s it for this week. As always, please send me a note with your thoughts to clay@mostlymedicaid.com or give me a buzz at 919.727.9231. Get outside (water some plants, cut grass. Enjoy that cut grass smell.) and keep running the race (you know who you are).

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