Week in Washington 092321

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



The news this week surrounding Congress has focused on what is not happening. Congress has not yet passed a budget for fiscal year 2022. This means there is the potential for a governmental shut down starting at the end of the month if Congress cannot agree to a budget resolution. Additionally, there are negotiations ongoing over the debt ceiling, which would need to be raised in October or November. Finally, internal disagreements among Democrats have resulted in delays in the reconciliation bill. In particular, there has been pressure from certain members to reduce or exclude the prescription drug negotiations. This could result in significant changes to other health care provisions as the prescription drug portion savings are being used to offset the other health care programs spending increases.


The FDA approved Pfizer vaccine boosters for individuals that are over 65 or at high risk this week. The CDC is expected to issue guidance clarifying who falls into the high risk bucket.

Covid case numbers declined this week as many hard-hit states experienced drops. Hospitalization numbers, which lag case numbers declined, although number of deaths continued to increase. Currently there are approximately 2,000 Americans dying per day due to COVID.

Delayed Care

Axios reported that the number of patient visits for chronic kidney care decreased 26% in the early months of the pandemic. Axios noted that some doctors are seeing negative effects of delayed care in the form of sicker patients.


STAT reported that just over 100 patients have actually gotten Aduhelm, the new Alzheimer’s drug. Given that many hospitals are refusing to administer the drug, the drug is being provided at infusion centers.

HHS Medicare Coding

HHS-OIG released a report that some Medicare Advantage companies leveraged the use of chart reviews and health risk assessments to maximize risk-adjusted payments. HHS-OIG recommended more oversight in this area to CMS. You can read the report here.

Previous editions: 

09/09/2021: Week in Washington

9/02/2021: Week in Washington

8/26/2021: Week in Washington

8/19/2021: Week in Washington



8/12/2021: Week in Washington

8/06/2021: Week in Washington

7/15/2021: Week in Washington

7/08/2021: Week in Washington


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