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
As can be seen in the below numbers, unfortunately, this week, COVID case numbers (and deaths) trickled up a little. Hot spots have generally been focused in the Midwest, often times around college campuses.
The focus on Congress continues on a continuing resolution to fund the government to avoid a government shutdown. Politico reported that an agreement is likely to emerge this week, which would provide time to pass the bill before the end of the month deadline.
The Census released new data on income, poverty, and health coverage in the United States in 2019. The American Community Survey dataa, found that poverty and income statistics improved while health insurance coverage declined. In particular, the number of uninsured increased by about 1 million people between 2018 and 2019. Overall about 9.2% of people in the US were not covered by health insurance at the time of the survey in 2019.
Two potentially important executive actions were released this week:
- Prescription Drugs- The White House released an executive order this week designed to reduce prescription drugs costs for Medicare B and Medicare D. Further details (i.e., regulations) will need to be released before the order influences costs. The Brookings Institute has some analysis on the topic here.
- CMS also released the 2022 Medicare Advantage Note. Of particular note in the proposed rule is using only encounter data for calculating risk adjustment and proposes to shift the calendar earlier. The rule has a comment period of 60 days.
- CMS announced it would not be finalizing the controversial Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation, which was designed to limit state financing policies used to boost federal funding. One estimate, conducted by Manatt, estimated the rule would have cut Medicaid funding by almost $50 billion annually.
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