The CMS will allow cash-strapped Alabama to postpone its Medicaid privatization and restructuring demonstration.
The state's Republican governor, Robert Bentley, a physician, has been a proponent of the restructuring, citing potential savings for the program. The demonstration, which will use regional care organizations, was pushed back by a year to formally begin on April 1, 2017, and end on March 31, 2022.
Alabama will begin enrolling beneficiaries into managed care by Oct. 1, 2017. But first, the CMS will check that the state is ready to implement statewide managed care.
Iowa's Medicaid managed-care program has faced significant complaints from providers who say they're not getting paid since it was launched early last year. Republican Gov. Terry Branstad converted the state's traditional Medicaid program to a private managed-care model, arguing it would cut costs. Critics said implementation of the program was rushed.
Alabama's Section 1115 waiver provides up to $748 million over five years to move the state away from traditional fee-for-service payment. The state's GOP leaders have refused to expand Medicaid, which would cover an estimated 300,000 additional residents and bring about $1 billion a year in federal funding into the state.