Week in Washington 05/16/24


While no legislation is imminent Congress is working on a number of different pieces of potential legislation


Politico reported that Congress was working on extending current Medicare telehealth rules for another two years. The current telehealth rules, which were originally set in place during the pandemic, are set to expire at the end of 2024. Politico reported that while its possible its unlikely that the extension would be longer given concerns over cost.

Prescription Drugs 

Congress is considering legislation that would exempt certain drugs from having to pay inflation-related rebates under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program. The legislation is designed to try to address ongoing drug shortages.  Congress is also considering a bill that would block US biotechs and drug makers from contracting with certain Chinese firms. The Biosecure Act would increase drug prices but reduce US reliance on China for certain drug components.

Rural Hospital

The Ways and Mean Committee in the House of Representatives is considering a series of bills that would support financial stability for Critical Access Hospitals and rural emergency hospitals.

Hospital Price Inflation 

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) released monthly inflation numbers this week. While overall inflation ticked down, hospital price inflation has accelerated. As the Wall Street Journal ($) noted, hospital prices accelerated 7.7% from a year ago, the highest increase since October 2010.  The higher prices will put higher pressure on insurers to raise premiums.

From WSJ

RAND Study

The RAND Corporation released the latest incarnation of their provider price study this week. The study found wide variation between different hospitals and states on their pricing. Arkansas, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Mississippi had relatively lower prices while California, Florida, Georgia, New York, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin had relatively higher prices.

Sign up for the
Wakely Wire,

our industry newsletter.