Matt Broaddus: What are Medicaid Block Grants?

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This week we are joined by Matt Broaddus to talk about block granting Medicaid, which is a major health policy change that the Trump administration plans to pursue in the coming months. Matt is a Research Analyst in the Health Division at The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a non-partisan research and policy institute in Washington DC. His policy, research, and analytical work is conducted in the areas of Medicaid and the State Child Health Insurance Programs.

We start with an overview of the Medicaid program, the largest insurance program in the US. We touch on the possible benefits of block granting (19:00), and how it may affect other industry stakeholders such as health systems, hospitals, community health centers, and insurers that offer Medicaid managed care products (23:20). Lastly we discuss another block granted program, CHIP and why many see it as a successful block grant program (29:00), and one other suggestion that has been made for Medicaid reform, per-capita funding (32:45).

You can find the article we mentioned by Sara Rosenbaum here, as well as some additional resources on block grants from Kaiser Health News and The Commonwealth Fund.

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Photo: President Lyndon B Johnson surrounded by supporters and advisors signing Medicare into law.

Jessie Gaeta: SPOT – Supportive Place for Observation and Treatment

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Today our guest is Jessie Gaeta, the Chief Medical Officer of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. She is a leading advocate for supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals, and has led BHCHPs efforts in responding to the opiate use disorder and overdose crisis, which is what we discussed.

Dr. Gaeta and her colleagues found themselves confronting the reality of opiate overdose as the leading cause of death among Boston’s homeless individuals day after day on their campus. In reaction to this, Gaeta and her colleagues opened SPOT, or Supportive Place for Observation and Treatment – a space within their building where individuals can come after using to ride out a high while being monitored by a nurse for overdose, and for opiate reversal if necessary.

Photo: Jessie Gaeta, MD

Andrew Morris-Singer: Organizing & Advocacy

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We are joined this week by Andrew Morris-Singer, a general internist and founder of Primary Care Progress. Primary Care Progress is a national non-profit organization dedicated to building a stronger primary care system. Working with current and future healthcare professionals from across disciplines and career stages – from students and faculty to providers and health systems leaders – PCP offers leadership development and support that emphasizes relational skills, individual resiliency, and advocacy. Andrew has a unique background as a community organizer with more than 15 years of experience. He is a lecturer in Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, an Assistant Professor in the Dept of Family Medicine at OHSU and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah. He currently sees patients in Portland, Oregon. On the show, we talk about relational leadership,  advocacy and activism in primary care.

Photo: Andrew Morris-Singer MD

Emma Sandoe: Affordable Care Act Repeal Update

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Emma Sandoe, a PhD student in Health Policy Political Analysis at Harvard University, joins us for a discussion of the Affordable Care Act. Prior to starting her PhD program, Emma spent six years in Washington, DC working on the passage and implementation of the ACA. She served as the spokesperson for Medicaid and HealthCare.gov at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and worked on ACA coordination at the HHS Budget Office.

We start with an overview of the ACA and then review key players in the repeal and replace efforts thus far (5:25); the recent CBO report and the possibility of an insurance premium death spiral (15:00); the likelihood of Trump’s ability to keep his promise to retain the popular provisions of the ACA and what a replacement law might look like (18:00); the ACA’s flaws and some historic context for them (24:12); and give some well-hedged predictions for the coming weeks (32:05).

We discuss a report released last week by the Congressional Budget Office projecting what might happen if the ACA is repealed without a replacement, and two articles from healthcare reporter Sarah Kliff looking at potential ACA replacement plans and a story about discontent with the ACA among beneficiaries. Here is a helpful article from New York Times reporter Margot Sanger-Katz looking at what President Trump’s executive order against the ACA might mean. You can find the resources for getting involved Emma mentioned here.

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