HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

No partial Medicaid expansion

Yesterday CMS issued a memorandum to states answering a series of frequently asked questions regarding implementation of the ACA.  Secretary Sebelius answered one of the more high-profile questions to emerge from NFIB v. Sebelius: whether states could receive the ACA's increased federal match for partial Medicaid expansion.  The answer is no:

Can a state expand to less than 133% of FPL and still receive 100% federal matching funds? No. Congress directed that the enhanced matching rate be used to expand coverage to 133% of FPL. The law does not provide for a phased-in or partial expansion. As such, we will not consider partial expansions for populations eligible for the 100 percent matching rate in 2014 through 2016. If a state that declines to expand coverage to 133% of FPL would like to propose a demonstration that includes a partial expansion, we would consider such a proposal to the extent that it furthers the purposes of the program, subject to the regular federal matching rate. For the newly eligible adults, states will have flexibility under the statute to provide benefits benchmarked to commercial plans and they can design different benefit packages for different populations. We also intend to propose further changes related to cost sharing.

In 2017, when the 100% federal funding is slightly reduced, further demonstration opportunities will become available to states under State Innovation Waivers with respect to the Exchanges, and the law contemplates that such demonstrations may be coupled with section 1115 Medicaid demonstrations. This demonstration authority offers states significant flexibility while ensuring the same level of coverage, affordability, and comprehensive coverage at no additional costs for the federal government. We will consider section 1115 Medicaid demonstrations, with the enhanced federal matching rates, in the context of these overall system demonstrations.    

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