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.
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Congress is expected to pass a short-term budget bill today, which will pass the deadline for a budget agreement until December 23rd. This means there will be one more vehicle (bill) to include before the next Congress takes over in January. As of writing this blog, there is a general agreement on spending, which there has been no announcement as to what health care items will be included in the budget (Omnibus) bill. As of now, the following issues could be included in the final bill:
- Paygo Sequestration
- Medicare Physician fee cut
- Medicare Telehealth extension
- Medicare payment bonus for value-based care
- ACA 2024 Payment Notice – CMS released the proposed 2024 ACA Payment Notice. The proposed notice includes a number of key changes, especially for plans operating on the Exchange. The proposed changes include:
- limiting of non-standard plans on Exchanges that HHS operates,
- more stringent network adequacy requirements
- Special Enrollment Period for consumers that lose Medicaid or CHIP
- Lower user fees for Exchanges operated by HHS
- Coming Regulations – OMB received two proposed rules that would impact the Medicare program. The first is the 2024 annual notice and the other a program integrity rule. These rules should be released soonish.
The Office of the Actuary released their annual National Health Expenditures report. Overall, they found that health spending grew to 2.7% in 2021. The slower growth is primarily due to the decline in pandemic related public spending, as excluding that spending which went up 7.6% (by sector the annual changes, the increases were private health insurance that was 5.8%, Medicare 8.4%, and Medicaid 9.2%). Out of pocket spending rose even higher by 10.4%. You can read the highlights here.
The Federal Reserve increased interest rates again in December and hinted that rate increases would continue into 2023. Additionally, the Federal Reserve released its projections for the economy in 2023. They currently project that real GDP would only grow by 0.5% while the unemployment rate would increase to 4.6%.
Week in Washington will be back with policy updates in 2023. Happy Holidays!
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