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
There are two main pieces of legislation moving right now
- Infrastructure/Bipartisan Bill- This bill primarily focuses on spending for infrastructure improvements, such as roads, broadband, and other physical infrastructure projects. However, some of the pay-fors for the bill (provisions that lower the deficit) are being financed through delays in the Medicare rebate rule and recouping costs from unused Medicare drugs left in packaging. It is expected to be voted for this week.
- Reconciliation Bill (Human Infrastructure) – Also potentially moving forward is the $3.5 trillion Democratic Party bill that is expected to be voted on after the bipartisan physical infrastructure bill is voted on. The final text/details are being worked out, but as of today, ACA subsidies, Medicare benefit expansion (dental, vision, hearing), and options for those in states that have not expanded Medicaid are expected to be included. Lowering the Medicare eligibility age or public options are not likely to be included.
Unfortunately, a number of states are experiencing COVID cases and hospitalization numbers as high as they have ever experienced. Florida, Louisiana, and Arkansas are all experiencing high COVID hospital and ICU numbers. States with higher vaccination rates have not seen as large of upticks. The expectation/hope is that these rates will decrease in the next few weeks.
Mississippi’s State Department of Health is now advising immune-compromised individuals to consider a third dose of the COVID vaccine. There is increasing pressure on the FDA/CDC to approve COVID vaccine boosters.
The job’s report released this week showed the employment increased almost by almost 1 million jobs and the unemployment rate decreased to 5.4% last month. Assuming there are no setbacks, it’s possible the US will return to its prepandemic employment levels by the end of 2022.
Research You Can Use
- Wakely released its analysis on hospital transparency data. You can read it here
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