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
- Insulin: The main action this week in Congress was reducing the price of insulin for consumers. The House is poised to pass a bill todaythat would cap out of pocket expenses for insulin to no more than $35 per month for both Private Insurance and Medicare Part D starting in 2023. You can read the bill here. There is bipartisan support for such a bill in the Senate and it could pass as soon as next month.
- Covid Funding: The other big item on Congress’ agenda right now is Covid funding. Currently, there is insufficient funding for the Federal government to purchase more Covid vaccine (e.g., if boosters are needed in the fall). Lawmakers are debating on the size and scope of funding for such efforts. Senators are aiming to pass the bill before the April 9th recess.
- Other Stuff: other items such as extending ARP level subsidies, sequestration, or other factors.
- Also released this week was the President’s FY 2023 Budget. The President’s Budget is a wish list of potential policies it would like for Congress to enact. Of particular note, the President’s budget addresses gaps in application and enforcement of the Mental Health Parity and Addition Equity Act across Departments and programs, including Medicare as well as commercial insurance, TRICARE, and the Veteran’s Affairs healthcare system.
- For example, the President wants Congress to require Medicare, TRICARE, and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to cover three behavioral health visits without cost-sharing and extend MHPEA protections to these programs.
- The Administration is also asking Congress to require private plans and issuers, including group health plans to cover mental health benefits, allow federal agencies to regulate behavioral health network adequacy, and to issue regulations on a standard for parity in reimbursement rates.
Two important regulations for the ACA markets, the final 2023 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters and the proposed Family Glitch regulations arrived at OMB this week. This typically means that the regulations will be released in the next few weeks.
Covid cases, deaths, and hospitalizations continue to decline nationwide. There appears to be some increases in localized areas (e.g., mid-Atlantic) where the Omicron sub variant is dominant.
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