All posts by Margot Thistle

Margot Thistle, Esq. is a managing editor of Health Policy News who has spent much of her career working directly on Affordable Care Act policy and implementation, including having lead plan management operational and policy planning for Vermont Health Connect, a state-based exchange. During her time at PCG, Ms. Thistle has worked extensively with state insurance departments and state agencies on health policy, market stabilization, and regulatory compliance matters. Ms. Thistle provides broad policy and regulatory support to PCG’s other health care clients across the country, analyzing policy and regulatory developments, providing strategic advice relative to regulatory questions, and drafting policy briefs and position papers. Ms. Thistle still has her admission ticket to the signing of Chapter 58 of the Acts of 2006, the historical Massachusetts health reform bill that preceded the ACA.

Eat Your Veggies!

How do we increase the promotion of produce prescriptions in the never-ending quest to implement and integrate social determinants of health? As of 2010, diet has surpassed smoking as the leading cause of death for Americans—which translates to hundreds of billions of dollars being spent to combat diseases stemming from poor health and diet. Data ...

Work Requirement Waiver Approvals Vacated in Kentucky and Arkansas

On March 27, 2019,  Judge James Boasberg of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued rulings on back-to-back cases addressing work requirement eligibility criteria included in Section 1115 waiver applications submitted by the states of Arkansas and Kentucky. Judge Boasberg again ruled against the implementation of a Medicaid work requirement in Kentucky, while ...

Newly-Elected Governors Set Their Sights on Healthcare Reforms

The new year brought changes to state leadership across the nation, with 19 governors newly entering the corner office—seven of whom took over from an administration on the other end of the political spectrum. This refresh has brought a surge of new ideas and energy in the realm of state health policy. Below, we highlight

Insights from the AHIP National Health Policy Conference

Last week, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) held its annual health policy conference (#AHIPPOLICY) in Washington DC, with top industry leaders, regulators and policy makers convened to provide diverse voices and perspectives on today’s most urgent health care issues. The conference themes were familiar and front-of-mind topics: tackling the opioid epidemic, rising prescription drug costs, data ...

2019 Brings Progress on Prescription Drug Cost Control Efforts at State and Federal Level

As states and the federal government grapple with how best to address the issue of rising prescription drug costs, various models have emerged at the federal level that are similar to efforts underway at the State level. The Administration has called upon states to create innovative approaches to state Medicaid programs, particularly by examining value-based ...

Health Policy News Hosts Webinar on Annual Exchange Guidance

On February 7, 2019, the Health Policy News team hosted a webinar highlighting the proposed changes outlined in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) long-awaited annual Exchange guidance (proposed Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2020 and the 2020 Draft Letter to Issuers in the Federally-facilitated Exchanges) released on January 17, 2019. ...

Update on Medicaid Buy-In Efforts: Public Impressions and Specific Approaches to Medicaid Buy-in Programs

Many states considering a Medicaid buy-in public option have expressed the hope that it will provide an affordable coverage option for individuals, noting that insurance remains highly costly even for those individuals receiving Federal premium subsidies or employer contributions. States across the country have or will be exploring the feasibility and options available to them ...

Two Insurance Markets, Similar Stories to Tell

Massachusetts and New Hampshire held public meetings this past fall aimed at providing insights into the factors affecting health care costs in their respective states. The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) held its sixth annual Cost Trend Hearing on October 16th and 17th. The New Hampshire Health Insurance Department (NHID) held its annual hearing at ...

1115 Waiver Decisions issued by CMS

As we addressed in our report this past Spring, the use of Section 1115 Medicaid Waivers to address rising drug costs was a notable feature of the Federal administration’s recent drug proposal, and is an emerging policy trend.[1] The Federal administration’s 2019 budget proposes providing five states with Medicaid demonstration authority to test “drug coverage ...

Bipartisan Bill to Tackle the Opioid Epidemic Signed into Law

The Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (“SUPPORT Act”) was signed into law by the President on October 24, 2018, after passing the House and Senate with bipartisan support. A press release issued by the Senate explained that the Act aims to target the opioid epidemic ...