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
On the Hill
The Omnibus (budget) bill dominated the headlines in this week in Washington. Congress is racing to finalize this year’s $1.5 trillion spending bill. The bill provides funding for the government but includes some additional items. The bill has yet to be passed (a temporary budget will need to be passed this Friday to avoid a government shutdown), but the expectations are that when it passes next week, it will include Medicare telehealth provisions. In particular, the bill would extend the telehealth flexibilities that is allowed during the public health emergency for about 5 months (151 days to be exact) after the PHE ends. One issue that is not finalized at the time of writing this blog is funding for COVID. Without additional funding, the Federal government is likely to have insufficient funds to continue to purchase vaccines or other COVID treatments.
Senate Democrats also confirmed this week that they’ll try to revive portions of Build Back Better – specifically the drug pricing. The Senate Finance Committee will hold hearings on ways to make drug cheaper. The goal of the hearing is to gain support for prescription drug provision.
New inflation data continues to show inflation rates (7.9%) at a 40 year high in February (i.e., before the recent price spikes due to the war in Ukraine). Health prices continue to lag general inflation.
Covid cases, hospitalizations, and related deaths all continue to precipitously drop. Case numbers are currently at the lowest levels since July 2021 (pre-Delta).
03/03/2022: Week in Washington
02/24/2022: Week in Washington
02/17/2022: Week in Washington
02/10/2022: Week in Washington