The Federal Government’s Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Questions & Answers
Allison Orris and Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Manatt Health
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government is moving rapidly to help states and health care providers respond to mounting needs for new sources of funding and flexibility. Congress has passed three COVID-19 stimulus bills, which authorize programmatic changes in Medicare, Medicaid, and Marketplace coverage and also appropriate billions of dollars to support states, localities, and health care providers.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—and its component agencies, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services—has issued voluminous guidance outlining new flexibilities available to states and providers, and is working at breakneck speed to approve additional requests from states, to award funds appropriated by Congress, and to issue more guidance about such funding. This Q&A provides a moment-in-time update in response to questions SHVS has received about the federal government’s response.
This expert perspective reviews key considerations for states exploring Marketplace insurance subsidies and highlights the experiences in the five states that have established state-based subsidies that supplement the ACA’s premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions.
The United States is in the midst of an unprecedented national effort to manufacture, distribute, and ultimately administer COVID-19 vaccines to all Americans. While the federal government is coordinating distribution of vaccines from manufacturers to states, individual states (and certain municipalities) are responsible for coordinating the various components of infrastructure and operational logistics needed to take the vaccine from federal distribution channels to the arms of Americans. This expert perspective outlines four recommendations for states to engage their managed care plans to assist in efforts to successfully and rapidly vaccinate the Medicaid population.