There's been a LOT of buzz among healthcare wonks over the past week about major developments happening with the ACA's Basic Health Plan (BHP) programs in both Minnesota and New York State. This article is about Minnesota; I'll post about what's happening in New York separately.

As Louise Norris explains:

Under the ACA, most states have expanded Medicaid to people with income up to 138 percent of the poverty level. But people with incomes very close to the Medicaid eligibility cutoff frequently experience changes in income that result in switching from Medicaid to ACA’s qualified health plans (QHPs) and back. This “churning” creates fluctuating healthcare costs and premiums, and increased administrative work for the insureds, the QHP carriers and Medicaid programs.

The out-of-pocket differences between Medicaid and QHPs are significant, even for people with incomes just above the Medicaid eligibility threshold who qualify for cost-sharing subsidies.


via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS):

Biden-Harris Administration Extends Millions in Funding to Minnesota for MinnesotaCare, its Basic Health Program, Key Connection to Coverage Supported by American Rescue Plan

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is providing approximately $100 million in additional funding in 2022 to support MinnesotaCare, Minnesota’s Basic Health Program (BHP), as well as added funds for 2020 and 2021. The additional funds, made available through the American Rescue Plan, increase Minnesota’s ability to provide affordable, quality health care coverage to approximately 100,000 individuals.

Minnesota's new Democratic (pardon me..."Democratic-Farmer-Labor", or DFL) Governor, Tim Walz, has just posted his proposed state budget for the next fiscal year, and it includes some fantastic expansions & improvements to the healthcare system of Minnesota, including both state-level ACA enhancements and a push for a robust Public Option, along with other ideas.

The state House is also DFL-controlled, but the GOP holds a small majority in the state Senate, so I have no idea how much if any of this is politically feasible, but I love the roadmap:

Things have been happening so quickly of late that I'm getting farther and farther behind on some important healthcare policy developments, particularly at the state level. There are two extremely important Public Option announcements which could be game changers if they make it through the legislative process.

Since I don't have time to do full write-ups on either one right now, I'll just present these summaries:

My friend and colleague Colin Baillio, policy director of Health Action New Mexico, has been working on this for a long time, and it looks like this project has finally entered the legislative stage: