Payer Roundup—CMS approves Medicaid work requirements in Arizona 

CMS has approved Arizona's waiver for work requirements, making it the eighth state to test them, plus more insurance news. (Getty/juststock)

CMS approves Medicaid work requirements in Arizona 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is allowing Arizona to roll out work requirements in its Medicaid program.

The agency also approved an amendment that would exempt Native American beneficiaries from the rules. Arizona officials said that the amendment was requested after consultation with native tribes at both the state and federal level.  

Arizona is the eighth state to roll out work requirements since CMS issued guidance on the matter in January 2018. Its program can begin no earlier than Jan. 1, 2020. 

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“We have long stressed the importance of meaningful tribal consultation when states are contemplating program reforms, and I’m pleased with how this important process informed Arizona’s approach to amending its demonstration,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said. (Announcement

Federal court lifts injunction preventing Texas from booting Planned Parenthood out of its Medicaid program 

A federal appeals court has overturned a preliminary injunction on a Texas plan to block Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funding following a series of secretly recorded videos. 

The videos, which were released in 2015, set off a string of plans in red states to defund Planned Parenthood, as the clips—which were heavily edited and released by an anti-abortion group—seemed to show that the organization adjusted its approach to abortions to preserve specimens for science. 

The appeals judges said a district judge failed to follow proper standards in instituting the injunction and sent the case back down. Planned Parenthood sued Texas initially to prevent a loss of funding to cover nonabortion services and screenings that it provides. (The Associated Press

Study: ACA didn’t lead employers to stop offering insurance coverage 

Some policymakers were concerned that the advent of the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges would lead employers to cut benefits, but a new study shows that has largely not been the case. 

Researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health studied employer behavior data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality from between 2010 and 2015 and found that employers were not less likely to offer insurance because of Medicaid expansion. 

The study also found that there were no significant changes to the percentage of workers who signed up for insurance through their employer. However, it did note that in states that expanded Medicaid, there was a slight drop in the number of workers eligible for employer-based coverage, as some employers may have “tightened up” their definition of full time, which is a key element in determining eligibility. 

The researchers said the findings may indicate that employers were acting in the best interest of the majority of their employees instead of taking advantage of an opportunity to cut costs with the low-wage workers. (Announcement

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