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Section 1115 Medicaid demonstration waivers provide states an avenue to test new approaches in Medicaid that differ from federal program rules. Waivers can provide states considerable flexibility in how they operate their programs, beyond what is available under current law, and can have a significant impact on program financing. As such, waivers have important implications for beneficiaries, providers, and states. While there is great diversity in how states have used waivers over time, waivers generally reflect priorities identified by states and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Looking ahead, states are likely to continue to request waivers to implement provisions not allowed under current law; however, it is not yet clear what role Section 1115 waivers will play as the new administration and Congress move to repeal the ACA and debate possible broader changes to Medicaid financing. This page highlights key resources examining Section 1115 waivers and, farther down, also provides the standard search result page for a site-wide search on the “waivers” tag.

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New Developments in Medicaid Coverage: Who Bears Financial Risk and Responsibility?

A few recent state Medicaid initiatives have emerged that take the program into new directions. States have expressed a number of objectives in developing these approaches, including offering beneficiaries greater choice, promoting personal responsibility and healthier behaviors among enrollees, and, in some cases, relying more heavily on the private marketplace.…

The Role of Section 1115 Waivers in Medicaid and CHIP: Looking Back and Looking Forward

For many years, Section 1115 waivers have been used in the Medicaid program, and to a lesser degree in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, to provide states an avenue to test and implement coverage approaches that do not meet federal program rules. While these waivers have facilitated important program evolutions…

California's "Bridge to Reform" Medicaid Demonstration Waiver

This issue brief provides an overview of California’s “Bridge to Reform” Medicaid Demonstration Waiver, which was approved in 2010 and will make up to roughly $8 billion in federal Medicaid matching funds available to California over a five-year period to expand coverage to low-income uninsured adults and preserve and improve…

Massachusetts Health Care Reform: Six Years Later

In 2006, then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed Massachusetts’ comprehensive health reform designed to provide near-universal health insurance coverage for state residents. Building on a long history of health reform efforts, the state embarked on an ambitious plan to promote shared individual, employer, and government responsibility. This brief examines Massachusetts’ experience with…

Briefing on State Medicaid Programs, the Recession and Health Reform

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU) held a 9:30 a.m. ET briefing on Thursday, September 30 to examine the challenges facing states as they continue to struggle with the lingering impacts of the recession and begin preparing to implement health reform. Three reports were released…

Increasing Premiums and Cost Sharing in Medicaid and SCHIP: Recent State Experiences

Over the past few years, a number of states have implemented new or increased existing out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries in their Medicaid, SCHIP, or other public coverage programs. This brief reviews the key findings from this recent activity, including the impact on enrollment in public coverage programs, access to care,…

Recent Growth in Medicaid Home and Community-Based Service Waivers

Medicaid spending on home and community-based service (HCBS) waivers dominates spending on community-based long-term care services offered through the Medicaid program. This paper examines trends in HCBS waiver enrollment and spending in recent years. Report (.pdf)

State Options That Expand Access to Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services

This background paper examines various aspects of the Medicaid program that can expand access to home and community-based services (HCBS) and rebalance long-term care spending in favor of HCBS. As a result of the long-standing requirement that states cover facility-based care, the majority of Medicaid long-term care (LTC) expenditures historically…

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.