HHS Announces New Assistance to States

More Resources, Transparency, and Flexibility

February 22, 2012

Website Link  http://www.cms.gov/apps/media/press/release.asp?Counter=4283&intNumPerPage=10&checkDate=&checkKey=&srchType=1&numDays=3500&srchOpt=0&srchData=&keywordType=All&chkNewsType=1%2C+2%2C+3%2C+4%2C+5&intPage

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced more assistance to states as the department implements three new provisions of the Affordable Care Act. 

More Resources

The health care reform law gives states the freedom to design Affordable Insurance Exchanges - one-stop marketplaces where consumers will be able to choose a private qualified health plan that fits their health needs and will have the same kinds of insurance choices as members of Congress.  This announcement awards of $229 million, brings the number of states to 34 (including the District of Columbia) that are making significant progress in creating Affordable Insurance Exchanges.  States receiving funding today include: Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. 

More Transparency

The Affordable Care Act requires transparency and meaningful public input in the development, review, and approval (or renewal) of Medicaid and CHIP demonstrations.  These demonstrations allow States to undertake experimental, pilot, or demonstration projects, to run all or parts of their Medicaid programs in ways that would not otherwise be consistent with federal rules, and can have significant implications for beneficiaries, providers, and states. This announcement ensures transparency at each stage of the demonstration development and review process without impeding the timely submission and review of demonstration applications, ensuring public input while supporting ongoing innovation.  Transparency and public input help to ensure that as these changes are being proposed at the state level and reviewed at the federal level, stakeholders have an opportunity to inform the decision-making process.

More Flexibility

HHS along with the Department of Treasury finalized a rule providing more flexibility to States to find the health care solutions that work best for them.  The Affordable Care Act gives states the option to receive a State Innovation Waiver so they may pursue their own innovative strategies to ensure their residents have access to high quality, affordable health insurance.  Under the law, State Innovation Waivers are available in 2017, and this announcement of final rules provide detail how States can work with HHS to ensure their residents have the protections provided in the Affordable Care Act and access to innovative State approaches.