Week in Washington 050721

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



The House Energy and Commerce Committee held hearings on HR3, a bill that would allow Medicare to negotiate the cost of many drugs this week. Several Democrats in key positions are pushing for drug price negotiation to be included in the next major bill. The savings from the drug pricing policy could be leveraged to expand Medicare in various ways if prescription drug negotiations were included in a bill.

Biden Administration

  • COVID Vaccine Patents – The Biden Administration announced this week it would back initiatives that would temporarily waive patent rights for COVID vaccine, with an eye towards increasing the global supply. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is expected to take up the issue in the coming weeks and make a final determination.
  • ACA Payment Notice – The Biden Administration released the rest of the final 2022 ACA Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters. The regulation includes key information that issuers use to price for 2022. Key changes in the rule included a new maximum out-of-pocket limit, which will be $400 lower than what was initially proposed, and an announcement that HHS will be changing its user fee rate to a higher amount.
  • SEP Data-The Administration also released new Special Enrollment Period data. Overall, 940,000 Americans signed up through Healthcare.gov between February 15 and April 30. Sign-ups increased in April, which is when the American Rescue Plans’ increased subsidies were first implemented.
  • Medicaid Enrollment – As part of the enrollment report CMS released, it noted that over 250,00 Medicaid/CHIP eligibility determinations were made for those that tried to enroll through Healthcare.gov during the same time period. All signs point to Medicaid enrollment to continue growing at a rapid rate.


  • KFF released new data on vaccine rates by state and daily rates of first doses. There are increasing regional differences in vaccine rates, with areas in the Northeast having stronger vaccine take-up while areas in the South have smaller vaccine take-up rates.
  • The CDC released their projection of COVID rates in the coming months. All of their models point to far lower COVID case numbers this summer than in April.

Previous editions: 

4/29/2021: Week in Washington

4/22/2021: Week in Washington

4/15/2021: Week in Washington

4/08/2021: Week in Washington


3/25/2021: Week in Washington

3/18/2021: Week in Washington

3/11/2021: Week in Washington

3/04/2021: Week in Washington

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