Week in Washington is brought to you by Michael Cohen, PhD. Tune in each week to read the latest on healthcare policy and get a glimpse of what’s on the horizon
Week in Washington
Congress this week focused on passing a stopgap budget. The new budget agreement will keep the government open until March 11. It’s possible that some health items such as telehealth could be included in the final agreement. It should be noted that ongoing budget discussions and other bipartisan legislation is likely to push back any discussions on health care related provisions that would be passed via reconciliation.
Public Health Emergency
HHS has a self-imposed deadline of notifying the public at least 60 days before ending the public health emergency (PHE). Currently, the PHE is scheduled to end April 16, although it is likely to be renewed given the lack of notification. The end of PHE will have large impacts from Medicaid redetermination (an estimated 12 million Medicaid beneficiaries could shift out of Medicaid), many COVID related policies (e.g., testing, emergency use authorizations, etc.), as well as hospital payment policies are linked to the PHE.
COVID cases continue to decline significantly. Overall, the US average COVID cases are down 44% in the past week and levels now align with COVID levels pre-Omicron.
Politico reported that the Biden Administration is considering a dramatic change to the Direct Contracting model which was enacted under the previous Administration. According to the report, there is rising pressure from prominent Congressional Democrats to make significant changes, or possibly end the program. In the article, CMS did not provide a timeline on its deliberations.
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