Week in Washington 052021

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 Oversight Committee continued to hold hearings on prescription drug practices, with an eye towards increasing support for prescription drug reform.

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer motioned for cloture for the CMS Administrator nomination. The expectation is the Chiquita Brooks LaSure will be confirmed next week.


  • Public Options – Several states have advanced or considering advanced public options. Washington recently passed into law an update to their public option, which includes state subsidies as well as requirements on providers' contracts with a public option.  Colorado is also nearing passage of its own public option, and Nevada is considering passage of a public option. In both the Nevada and Colorado cases, the states will attempt to pursue 1332 waivers as part of the public option.

  • Silver-loading – Matt Fiedler of the Brookings Institute wrote this week on the case for replacing funding for CSRs, ending silver-loading, and expanding subsidies. The issue of ending silver-loading remains on the table for Congressional leaders as it's possible CBO will consider it a cost-saver.


  • The push for Medicaid expansion in Mississippi via ballot initiative abruptly ended after the state Supreme Court ruled that all ballot initiatives were inoperative. Despite the financial incentives for Medicaid Expansion that were included in the American Rescue Plan, there is not currently much forward momentum for Medicaid Expansion in new states.

  • New research found that the long-term survival of patients with newly diagnosed cancer improved if a state expanded its Medicaid program.  


  • 1 in 4 Medicare beneficiaries had a telehealth visit with a doctor between summer and fall 2020, according to new KFF research


  • Trends – COVID case numbers continued to precipitously fall in the United States. Currently, the US is averaging around 30,000 new cases a day, which is a decline of about 20% from the previous week.  COVID vaccine numbers continue to climb, although there large differences based on geography, with Northeastern states having far higher rates and Southern states lower rates.  Current survey data suggest that ultimately about 65%-70% will get vaccinated.

  • Boosters – Both Pfizer and Moderna told Axios that it was their expectations that Americans would need doses this fall.

Previous editions: 

5/13/2021: Week in Washington

5/06/2021: Week in Washington

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


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