Medicaid Council Reports on MACPAC Commissioners’ May Public Meeting
On May 16-17, the National Council on Medicaid Home Care’s director of policy, Michelle Martin, attended the May public meeting of the MACPAC commissioners. The meeting included a robust discussion of waivers, from both the federal and state perspectives, as well as an update on MACPAC’s gathering of Medicaid data, known as MACStats.
Cindy Mann, CMS Deputy Administrator/Director was the first presenter on the “Medicaid Waivers: Federal Perspectives” panel. Ms. Mann discussed waivers, generally, as well as some greater detail on how many active waivers exist and their purpose (65 active 1115 waivers, 57 active 1915(b) waivers, and 320 active 1915(c) waivers). The commissioners expressed concern over waivers, essentially questioning whether waivers need to continue, since many waivers have become long-standing programs, or if amendments should be made to state plans to accommodate the waivers.
Ms. Mann explained that the waivers are so popular because they are very flexible, allow for creating change in a way that seems significant, and let the states test new ideas. Whether waivers are, in fact, allowing for innovation instead of a clever work-around is a concern and Ms. Mann indicated that CMS is moving toward making the waiver process more streamlined and transparent at the same time as aggressively moving toward a focus on quality and better evaluation of waivers.