Week in Washington 101520

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 shown in the NYTimes’ graphic below, cases in the US have started to climb dramatically in the past few weeks, lending evidence that the pandemic is entering a third phase. While COVID increases are fairly widespread, the highest increases have generally occurred in the Midwest and rural areas. Overall, states reported that approximately 37,000 individuals were hospitalized with COVID.




While discussions have continued on a COVID stimulus package, most observers believe the only thing that will be brought before the Senate floor before the election is the Supreme Court nomination. The addition of Barrett would tilt the court in a more conservative direction. Politico has a good rundown of the additional health care cases (beyond Texas v. California) that could be decided in the near future.


Unfortunately, the number of permanently unemployed continues to increase. Below this chart from calculated risk illustrates the difference between the current economic downturn and the previous economic downturns in terms of permanent job losses. Two recent studies estimated that approximately 8 million Americans slipped into poverty since the pandemic began.




KFF released its annual brief on the state of Medicaid spending and enrollment. The brief finds that overall

  • Medicaid enrollment has increased, on average, over 8% since the start of the pandemic.
  • Among reporting states, growth in total Medicaid spending was 6.3% in FY 2020 but is expected to jump to 8.4% in FY 2021
  • Estimates that state Medicaid spending would decline in FY 2020 (-0.5%) and then sharply increase in FY 2021 (12.2%)

You can read more here and here

Additional News:

  • CMS announced that it had approved Georgia’s 1115 waiver. The waiver would expand its Medicaid coverage however would also include work requirements.
  • Wakely released its estimated impact of the inclusion of RC recovery payments into MLR calculations based on recently released guidance from CMS.Overall the new proposed guidance is expected to result in $300 million MLR rebates. You can read it here.

Previous editions: 

10/08/2020: Week in Washington

10//01/2020: Week in Washington

09/24/2020: Week in Washington

09/17/2020: Week in Washington


09/10/2020: Week in Washington

09/03/2020: Week in Washington

08/27/2020: Week in Washington

08/20/2020: Week in Washington


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