Following the elections that flipped seven governorships, this could be a pivotal year for CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Does flexibility go to everyone or is it just for cheaper, less regulated insurance?” said Chris Sloan, a director at Avalere, a health-care consulting firm. “That has yet to be decided.” Meanwhile, Democrats want the administration to crack down on state that aren’t fully complying with Medicaid abortion rules.
Seema Verma, head of one of the most powerful federal health-care agencies, granted Republican states the authority to require that Medicaid recipients work to be eligible. Now, after November midterm elections that saw Democrats flip seven governorships and retake the House of Representatives, Democratic-run states are poised to ask for approval to expand coverage, including statewide single-payer or public health options. Ms. Verma has said her goal is to give states more authority over their own health-care markets. Some health analysts say the question now is whether that push for deregulation will also mean her agency approves bolder Democratic plans. (Armour, 2/10)
House Democrats are pressuring the Trump administration to crack down on several states that a government report found weren’t fully complying with a Medicaid requirement to cover abortions in cases of rape, incest or danger to a woman’s life. In a letter to Seema Verma, the Trump administration official overseeing Medicaid, the Democrats asked why 14 states were being permitted to not cover mifepristone, a drug necessary to perform nonsurgical abortions. They also asked why one state, South Dakota, doesn’t cover abortions in cases involving rape or incest. (Hackman, 2/8)
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