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
Infrastructure - While Congress is on recess, there are ongoing negotiations on infrastructure. One interesting note is that recently the Senate parliamentarian ruled that, outside of extenuating circumstances, only one budget reconciliation bill can be passed per fiscal year. This means if no bipartisan agreement is reached on infrastructure, the infrastructure bill would need to be combined with the Families First Act. In other words, ongoing infrastructure negotiations will impact when and what form new legislation on health care takes.
The White House released its proposed budget. Within the budget are effective policy proposals that the Administration would like Congress to pass. Included this year are extensions for ACA subsidies, a public option for the individuals in states that haven’t, and lowering prescription drug costs. Interestingly the budget implies some of these costs would be offset via reductions in payments to Medicare Advantage plans.
- Nevada recently passed a public option bill that would go into effect in 2026. The bill would require the state to seek a 1332 waiver. Approval of such a waiver may be a template for other states to follow.
- KFF released new survey data that shows that only 9% of the currently uninsured are aware of the increased subsidies (and lower net premiums)
- New York recently released proposed 2022 ACA rates. Overall the proposed rate increase is 11.2%.
- Numbers – COVID numbers continued to decline, reaching the lowest levels since March 2020. Overall, COVID cases declined almost 30%, and hospitalizations down about 10% in the past week.
- Moderna – Moderna submitted data for full vaccine approval rather than through emergency use authorization.
- Variant – Globally, there is growing concern around the new variant Delta, which is likely more transmissible and produces more severe outcomes than current strains.
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