October 28, 2021
  • KFF’s Annual Survey of Medicaid Directors found that the COVID-19 pandemic prompted over half of state Medicaid programs to expand programs to address social determinants of health. Three-quarters of responding states reported initiatives in place or planned to address racial and ethnic disparities in health. Twenty-two states reported new or enhanced benefits in FY 2021, and 29 states are adding or enhancing benefits in FY 2022. Many states are focused on expanding behavioral health services, care for pregnant and postpartum women, dental benefits, and housing-related supports. (Survey here; Companion analysis here)
  • The White House signaled there could be some flexibility as it enforces the president’s executive order requiring federal workers and government contractors to vaccinate their workers. Jeff Zients, White House coronavirus response coordinator, said federal agencies and contractors are expected to educate and accommodate their unvaccinated workers even after the deadline to persuade them to receive vaccine doses before terminating them, adding that the vaccine mandate aims to protect people and not punish them should they be unvaccinated by the due dates. (Article here)