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Week in Washington
General COVID News
As David Leonard notes in the below graph, there’s some good news as previous hot spots like Arizona, Texas, and Florida appears to be plateauing if not improving. However, these improvements are generally being swamped by other states having larger growths. The result is that overall the US was at or near record highs for case numbers.
State of the Economy
As the following graphic from Ernie Tedeschi shows, unfortunately, as the virus increased in June, economic improvement declined. Unemployment rates, especially those related to permanent unemployment, has risen in recent weeks. The economic retrenchments comes as the additional unemployment insurance is expected to expire at the end of the month. Over 31 million Americans currently receive additional unemployment insurance payments ($600). If the additional unemployment insurance payments expire, far more people are expected to enroll in Medicaid coverage.
Public Health Emergency Renewed
HHS renewed the public health emergency late today (7/23) for another 90 days. It was set to expire on Saturday, July 25.
Senate Republicans continue to negotiate with the White House on their proposed COVID/Stimulus bill. Even after agreeing among themselves, Senate Republicans will still need to come to an agreement with House Democrats. Consequently, it could still be several weeks before a final bill passes.
- Several states are moving to reduce Medicaid costs according to this report by CBPP. Several states have reduced provider payments and/or services such as dental coverage.
- Several insurer groups expressed concerns on the proposed value-based payment arrangement Medicaid rule that the rule would allow drug manufactures to charge higher prices through bundled sales.
- The 2022 Advanced Notice for MA and Part D arrived at OMB unexpectedly early. This could mean the Administration will release the notice in the coming weeks.
- Politico reported that the White House is again considering a proposal that would eliminate rebates from Medicare plans. You can read more here
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