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: Inflation Hits Health Care Sector
Inflation data released this week showed inflation remained at 40 year highs. However, for the first time health care costs were also high. Medical CPI was 5.4% (the highest since 12/93). Also, experiencing high cost increases were prescription drug, nursing home, and health insurance.
Congress is discussing two major pieces of health care at the moment, both involving Medicare.
- Sequestration – A bill is being introduced this week to prevent the looming additional 4.4% sequestration that is scheduled to go into effect starting in 2023. The bill is not expected to be voted on until after the midterms.
- Medicare Advantage Prior Authorization – The House passed a bill that would speed up prior authorization process in Medicare Advantage plans. The bill heads to the Senate, where it has considerable support.
- Telehealth – Discussions remain ongoing on continuing the current flexibilities in Medicare for telehealth coverage that are only in effect during the public health emergency.
Uninsured Levels Declined in 2021
The Census Bureau released new data on the change in coverage status in the United States in 2021. As can be seen below, the uninsured rate declined to the lowest level on records. This was driven primarily by large increases in Medicaid. There were also increases in Marketplace and Medicare coverage.
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