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Week in Washington
Public Health Emergency
The self-imposed deadline of the Administration announcing the end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) passed on Monday. Multiple outlets have reported that the PHE will be extended to another 90 days until October. This would mean that if the PHE ends in October an announcement would happen August 14th. Another extension in October would push the PHE to January 11th (and an announcement of November 12th).
ACA Subsidy Extension/Impact
Kaiser Family Foundation released new analysis as to how much net premiums would increase if the increased premium subsidies that were enacted as part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) end. Currently, these enhanced subsidies are scheduled to sunset at the end of the year. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) estimates that net premiums would have been 53% higher in 2022 if the subsidies had not been in effect. They also released state by state estimates of the premium impact of ARP (ranging from Wyoming 132% higher to New Hampshire being 28% higher).
Negotiations on the topic are currently ongoing between Senator Schumer and Senator Manchin, although no breakthroughs have been announced.
Covid cases and hospitalizations increased this week. The new subvariant is leading to an increase in reinfections and higher transmissibility. Funding for Covid vaccines is still stalled, which lead the White House this week to warn about the potential for vaccine rationing in the fall.
Hospital Prices for Private Health Plans
RAND released round 4 of its comparison of prices paid to hospitals by private health plans relative to Medicare prices. In 2020, across all hospital inpatient and outpatient services, employers and private insurers paid 224% of what Medicare would have paid for the same service, according to the analysis. This is a reduction from 2018 when RAND estimated private plans paid 247% of Medicare prices.
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