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Behavioral Health Parity and Medicaid

This issue brief explains how behavioral health parity applies in the Medicaid program, including the major provisions of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) April 10, 2015 proposed regulations, and identifies key policy issues at the intersection of behavioral health parity and Medicaid.

Newly Insured Californians Report Easier Access to Care Than the Uninsured

Low-income California adults who gained insurance coverage in 2014 had an easier time accessing health care than those who were uninsured and increased financial protection from medical bills, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) report. The report, funded by the Blue Shield of California Foundation and based on…

Access to Care for the Insured and Remaining Uninsured: A Look at California During Year One of ACA Implementation

California is a bellwether state for understanding the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Much attention has been paid to enrollment in California’s new coverage options, such as the Medicaid expansion (Medi-Cal) and plans sold through ACA marketplaces (Covered California), and to changes in the uninsured from 2013 to 2014. However, less is known about how this coverage has affected people’s access to care and financial security, and why others remain uninsured. This report, based on the 2014 Kaiser Survey of Low-Income Americans aims to fill this gap by comparing the newly insured, previously insured and remaining uninsured across several of these important dimensions.

Coverage Expansions and the Remaining Uninsured: A Look at California During Year One of ACA Implementation

California is a bellwether state for understanding the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Much attention has been paid to enrollment in California’s new coverage options, such as the Medicaid expansion (Medi-Cal) and plans sold through ACA marketplaces (Covered California), and to changes in the uninsured from 2013 to 2014. However, less is known about how this coverage has affected people’s access to care and financial security, and why others remain uninsured. This report, based on the 2014 Kaiser Survey of Low-Income Americans aims to fill this gap by comparing the newly insured, previously insured and remaining uninsured across several of these important dimensions.

Briefing on the ACA in CA: Year One & Beyond

Continuing an effort to explore Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation in the states, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Blue Shield of California Foundation examined ACA implementation in California (CA) at a Sacramento, Calif. briefing and panel discussion on May 28. A state official, experts and advocates discussed issues and challenges related to implementation of the law, and the practical impact of providing coverage to roughly 4.5 million Californians who have coverage via the state marketplace or the Medi-Cal expansion.

Medicaid Financing: How Does it Work and What are the Implications?

The Medicaid program is jointly funded by states and the federal government. There has been renewed interest in how Medicaid is financed in light of the additional federal financing for the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as well as ongoing budget discussions at the federal level. This brief reviews how the Medicaid program is financed as well as the implications for budgets, responsiveness to state policy choices and need, the links between Medicaid spending and state economies.

Reading the Stars: Nursing Home Quality Star Ratings, Nationally and by State

This issue brief presents national and state-level analysis of nursing homes based on the Five-Star Quality Rating System, recently updated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to help consumers compare nursing homes when selecting one for themselves or their family members. The issue brief finds that more than one-third (36%) of the nation’s 15,500 nursing homes certified by Medicare or Medicaid received relatively low ratings of 1 or 2 stars (out of a possible 5 stars). In 11 states, at least 40 percent of nursing homes in the state have 1- or 2-star ratings. In 23 states, however, at least half of the nursing homes have 4- or 5- star ratings. This issue brief discusses relevant policy considerations regarding nursing home quality—a serious issue in light of the vulnerability of the nursing home population and recent reports of problems arising from inadequate staffing, fire safety hazards, and substandard care.