SB 1410 will improve the Independent Medical Review process by requiring the regulators to include information beyond what is currently available, such as patient race, ethnicity and primary language spoken.
CRIHB is working with representatives of California State Senator Hernandez to support the passage of SB 1410. SB 1410 will improve the Independent Medical Review process by requiring the regulators to include information beyond what is currently available, such as patient race, ethnicity and primary language spoken. The bill will also address the concern that reviewers are not always appropriately qualified by requiring reviewer qualifications to be reported in the program databases and by elevating required reviewer expertise to the level advocated by federal law. Finally, SB 1410 will assist in safeguarding the rights of patients to have access to the medical care that they need. CRIHB health care advocates have talked with numerous State legislative representatives about the importance of the bill. SB 1410 has passed both houses of the legislature and is on the governor’s desk.
Court rules Affordable Care Act’s ‘individual mandate’ unconstitutional, Medicaid expansion constitutional
On August 12, 2011, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s ‘individual mandate’ provision, requiring U.S. citizens to maintain health insurance, is unconstitutional. The case includes 26 states and involves two claims: (1) the individual mandate is illegal because it exceeds Congress’s Commerce Power and (2) the mandatory Medicaid expansion is unconstitutionally coercive upon states.
The court found that not buying health insurance is not commercial activity that can be regulated by Congress and therefore the mandate is unconstitutional. In addition, the court found that the Medicaid expansion is constitutional. This is important given that for the first three years of expansion, the Federal matching rate will be 100% and after this time period it will drop to 90%. These rates are higher than any State currently receives and additional people will be able to receive the health care services that they need.
If this ruling stands and other legal challenges fall by the wayside, the vast majority of the Affordable Care Act would be implemented, including the provisions specific to Indian health care.
Federal officials propose reducing Medicaid program for people with low incomes
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s alternative proposal for Medicaid would change it to block grants for states and cut the funding by 35% in 2022 and nearly 50% in 2030. Under the proposal, states could spend more of their own funds to keep the programs working as they traditionally have or cap enrollment, scale back eligibility and reduce services for the patients who rely on Medicaid.
The nation, states, tribes and Indian health programs cannot afford to have more people without access to the healthcare services that they need. Medicaid is substantially more inexpensive than any other health insurance plan on the market. Let’s stand together and fight to protect Medicaid, after all it is one of the good fights to be involved in. The children, parents, people with disabilities, and elders that are participants in the Medicaid program and in our communities need a hero, be that advocate.