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Messages from the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services

Messages from CMS

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Jessie Parker, Kim Proctor, Julie Boughn, Douglas Olson, Karen LLanos

Although Medicaid and CHIP cover more than 75 million Americans, collecting high-quality and timely data for each state’s Medicaid and CHIP program is incredibly difficult. Not only do states have flexibility in the design and implementation of these programs, but collecting data and submitting it to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in a standardized format is a demanding administrative and information technology task for both states and the federal government.

Protecting Medicaid and ensuring it remains sustainable and able to provide access to high quality care for society’s most vulnerable populations is a top priority for the Trump administration.  Medicaid plays a critical role in the fabric of our nation’s health care safety net and the Trump administration has consistently worked to provide states with the flexibility needed to effectively manage their programs, ensure accountability for patient outcomes, and foster strong program integrity to ensure that taxpayer resources benefit Medicaid recipients.

The Medicaid program has grown from $456 billion in 2013 to an estimated $576 billion in 2016, largely fueled by a mostly federally financed expansion of the program to more than 15 million new working age adults. For these adults, the estimated cost per enrollee grew about 7 percent from FY2017 to 2018, compared to about 0.9 percent for other enrollees.

At the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), we are making great progress to transform Medicaid, which CMS’s largest program serving 72.5 million beneficiaries. We are working to reset the federal-state relationship and restore the partnership between the states and the federal government, while at the same time modernizing the program to deliver better outcomes for the people we serve.

Two years ago today I was sworn in as CMS Administrator. One of my first actions when I began this journey was to send a letter to the nation’s governors in which I committed to ushering in a new era for the federal and state Medicaid partnership, granting states more freedom to design innovative local solutions.

I have often said that the best action that CMS can take to support state innovation is to get out of the way. We’ve heard loud and clear that states want room to explore new ways of delivering care and designing programs to help their Medicaid beneficiaries live healthier, more independent lives. We’ve answered that call by offering states unprecedented flexibility to design healthcare reforms through the use of section 1115 Medicaid demonstrations, and we continue to deliver on that promise.

Between 2013 and 2016, Federal spending on Medicaid grew by over $100 billion. The program is often the first or second largest line item in state budgets. Just recently, CMS’ independent Office of the Actuary released their Medicaid financial report, confirming what we have already known for quite some time – that our healthcare spending, particularly in Medicaid – is forecast to continue growing, averaging 5.7% annually over the next 10 years to reach over $1 trillion by 2026.

Although some progress has been made in efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate the crisis is not slowing down. However, it is important for our beneficiaries across the country to know that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is exploring all of our options to address this national crisis.

In his first 500 days in office, President Donald J. Trump has achieved results both at home and abroad for the American people, working to ensure government is more accountable to the American people. One of the many promises the Trump Administration has made and kept is improving accountability and transparency in Medicaid.

SOTA Updates

The Medicare-Medicaid Data Integration (MMDI) contractor has released two new opioid use cases that are available on the State Data Resource Center (SDRC) website. MMDI helps demonstration states (MMCO’s Financial Alignment Initiative and CMCS’ Innovation Accelerator Program) with in depth, state-centered technical assistance. This includes tools to successfully understand and analyze Medicare data as well as integrating those data with Medicaid and other data on the state’s IT platform.

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