Having spent my government career at CMS, it was interesting for me to listen to current CMS officials Steve Larsen (CCIIO) and Cindy Mann (Medicaid) describe the many opportunities for states and other stakeholders to participate in the development of federal policy for Health Exchanges that were authorized by the Affordable Care Act.
The discussion took place at today’s meeting on Insurance Exchange Development sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Steve Larsen described the partnership hybrid model where CMS and States could jointly administer State Exchanges with the federal government performing functions that states would effectively outsource to CMS. Cindy Mann described upcoming state collaboratives where states and CMS would sit together and jointly develop guidance for state exchanges.
The clear message is that the federal government does not have all of the solutions and that there is no “one size fits all” . The new CMS Innovation Center also conveys a strong message of public-private partnerships and consistently seeks ideas and solutions from stakeholders to improve the health care system. This is clearly a different era from my early days at CMS when the tradition was to seek input only through a formal regulatory comment process. CMS is now a “Learning Organization” — just in time to lead the expected huge changes in health care.