Week in Washington 030322

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Week in Washington


State of the Union/State of Build Back Better

The health news this week (obviously other matters are taking stage) focused on the State of the Union and potential for Build Back Better revival. President Biden delivered his first State of the Union speech this week. While he specifically mentioned improving mental health coverage and decreasing prescription drug costs, there was no explicit mention of other provisions (e.g., ACA subsidy extension). Additionally, this week Senator Manchin, one of the key holdouts from passing Build Back Better, discussed a pathway of passing new legislation. As part of that legislation, prescription drug reform would be a part of it but noted that new social programs would need to be limited in scope. 

These two items raise the prospect of potential reconciliation legislation passing without items that include previously mentioned Build Back Better items such as coverage for those in the Medicaid gap. Furthermore, given the focus on the Omnibus budget bill and the Supreme Court hearings, it is unlikely that legislation is attempted at least until April.


CMS released new guidance this week on Medicaid redetermination. CMS will require states to begin the unwinding no later than the month in which the PHE ends but no earlier than two months prior to the end of the PHE as can be seen in the below picture on options states have for unwinding.



Cases continue to decrease at a rapid rate. Over the past week cases have decreased 30% with the average number of cases at 54,000.

Odds and Ends

  • A Chartis Group analysis estimated Medicare enrollment increased 1 million this year, but Medicaid Advantage added 2.3 million beneficiaries.
  • Kaiser Health News released a story about the trend of employers using Medicare Advantage as an alternative to their existing retiree health plans.

Previous editions: 

02/24/2022: Week in Washington

02/17/2022: Week in Washington

02/10/2022: Week in Washington

02/03/2022: Week in Washington


01/27/2022: Week in Washington

01/20/2022: Week in Washington

01/13/2022: Week in Washington

01/06/2022: Week in Washington

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