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
- Debt Ceiling/Medicaid – The big news this week is the House passed a bill that would raise the debt ceiling in exchange for large budget cuts to discretionary spending as well as impose work requirements on certain programs including Medicaid. CBO estimates that the bill would reduce Medicaid enrollment by approximately 600,000 a year although researchers have estimated losses to be significantly higher. While the bill itself will not pass the Senate, negotiations that ultimately raise the debt ceiling could include large portions of the bill.
- Site-Neutrality – One area that is drawing some bipartisan agreement is changing Medicare payments policies. Several lawmakers are interested in implementing MedPAC’s recommendation on site neutral-payments. Changes could yield as much as $100 billion in savings.
HHS/CMS was also busy this week with some regulations/news releases.
- DACA – HHS released a proposed rule that would expand access for DACA recipients to Medicaid and Exchange coverage. The rule if implemented is estimated to decrease the number of uninsured by 129,000, the majority of whom would via Exchange coverage, starting in 2024.
- CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks announced at a Congressional hearing that CMS would step up its enforcement on hospital transparency requirements, through levying more fines.
- CMS is expected to release a major proposed rule that impacts Medicaid Managed Care.
Kaiser to acquire Geisinger
Kaiser Permanent announced that it would be acquiring Geisinger Health. The combined new company would be renamed Risant Health. The acquisition still requires state and federal approval.
Kaiser Family Foundation released new estimates on the impact of the ending of continuous eligibility requirements on Medicaid enrollment. Based on survey data as well as current state approaches on mitigating loss of coverage, KFF estimates that between 8 and 24 million people could lose Medicaid coverage between March 2023 and May 2024. KFF’s estimates include state by state enrollment figures as well as a good catalogue of state policies.
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