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Final Rule Released for Medicaid Expansion

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, March 19, 2012

The Department of Health and Human Services released Friday its final rules for the expansion of the Medicaid program under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The final rule, which becomes effective Jan. 1, 2014, expands access to the Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), establishes eligibility and enrollment provisions for health insurance exchanges, simplifies the application and renewal processes for the program, eliminates obsolete eligibility categories, and establishes a single income standard for determining eligibility.

"The Medicaid improvements in the Affordable Care Act will help simplify the system and ensure all Americans have the affordable high-quality coverage they need," said Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a press statement.

The final rule comes just as the federal Department of Justice prepares to defend later this month the ACA in a Supreme Court case. The Medicaid expansion, which could add as many as 17 million people to its rolls, is among the challenges to the ACA. The state of Florida has formally challenged the authority of Congress to expand the Medicaid program.

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