ObamaCare rule streamlines Medicaid program

Federal officials on Friday issued an ObamaCare regulation intended to make it easier for older and disabled people to access housing benefits under Medicaid.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a division of HHS, issued a final rule that streamlines the approval process for Medicaid's home and community-based programs.

While Medicaid does provide health insurance that covers doctor appointments for certain low-income families, it also helps seniors and people with disabilities pay for care in community-based living centers.

The rule is more of an administrative fix than anything else. The problem with this portion of Medicaid is that some beneficiaries who were signed up for multiple programs were having to seek an unnecessary number of reapprovals at different intervals, one for each program. 

This rule streamlines the process, so they only need approval once every five years for all of the programs. The rule also clarifies how much beneficiaries have to pay for the different programs.

As part of President Obama's Community Living Initiative, the program creates new affordable and accessible housing opportunities. Those could include "retirement communities" for older people, as well as at-home care from nurses.

The rule is expected to cost taxpayers as much as $150 million this year.