New Amendments to Health Care Law

By Ryan Kelly –

GOP members released new amendments to the health care law designed to replace the Affordable Care Act.  Clearly expected and not-so-long awaited, these amendments are aimed to help win votes to allow the legislation to pass.  So, what’s in these amendments and what would it do to Mississippi?

If you read mass media, you will get a hint of fact mixed in a flurry of speculation.  One of my pet peeves here lately is a lack of informed content without opinion, so take anything you read from liberal or conservative sources with a big grain of salt.

New amendments include the following:

  • A possible requirement for those on Medicaid to work, participate in job training, or perform community service.
  • A revised option for states to receive Medicaid funds as a “block grant” versus a per capita system, which would allow states to receive a set block of funds per year versus a set amount per enrollee per year.
  • Prevention of any additional states to expand Medicaid coverage as prescribed in the ACA
  • Increased tax credits older enrollees

From here, the bill with amendments goes to the Rules Committee, where additional amendments and discussion is almost assured.  But, some experts think that the bill could receive all markups as early as Thursday of this week…meaning that the process will go much faster than many of us thought.

What does this mean for Mississippi?

It’s still unclear.  As I mentioned in my last analysis of this, it all depends on the specifics of Medicaid.  One very important change that the National Rural Health Association is pushing, and we as the MRHA are supporting, is an exception for rural facilities to continue to receive the enhanced Medicaid and Medicare funding as a federal requirement for Medicaid funding to states.  This amendment would be critical for Mississippi’s many rural facilities.

What is the MRHA doing?

First, we are petitioning lawmakers to consider the NRHA amendment.  Continuing enhanced payments for rural is a blip on the fiscal radar, but it is significant for our providers.

Second, we are preparing a marketing campaign directed specifically at Mississippi lawmakers and policymakers to show the benefit of enhanced rural payments.  When a lawmaker understands how a little extra up-front saves significant dollars in the entire system, it becomes an easy sell on why enhanced rural payments are important.  Without them, our ERs in metro areas become much busier, and the cost to the state increases significantly.  No one wants this…so it’s a message that we will continue to tell.

What can you do?

Right now their may not be enough specific information to make specific asks, but contacting your lawmaker and asking them to consider rural health with this legislation is a huge positive.  This includes both federal and state legislators.

We will continue to keep everyone informed and updated as things progress.  There is certainly more to come…




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