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 Senate reached an agreement and voted to extend the hiatus on Medicare sequestration until the end of the year (December 31, 2021). The House is expected to vote and the pass the bill shortly (early next week). Discussions on how to handle sequestration in 2022 are ongoing.
Discussions have already begun on the next major piece of legislation. According to Politico, the next big legislation would focus on making the ACA subsidy expansion in the American Rescue Plan permanent, infrastructure, investments in college/childcare, and other potential items. To pay for the policy agenda, Democrats in the House and Senate are looking to find savings through reductions in drug spending and, more generally, Medicare spending (including potentially Medicare negotiating drug prices). Senator Sanders will hold hearings next week that may give some insights into potential policies on the table.
HHS announced they would be extending the access to the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) until August 15 for the Healthcare.gov states to provide more time for individuals to access the enhanced subsidies as a result of the American Rescue Plan. Covered California also announced an extended SEP that would last until the end of the year.
American Rescue Plan Research
Given the importance the American Rescue Plan has on the individual market for 2021 and 2022, there has been a number of pieces of research published on the subject.
- Wakely released its summary of the bill, with a specific focus on potential effects on 2022
- Matt Fiedler released research on best practices for analyzing the income distribution for the individual market. The research also found that from 2016 to 2019, it is unlikely that short-term duration plan enrollment and other non-MEC coverage types grew.
- KKF released high-level estimates on changes in subsidy eligibility among the uninsured
Given the added financial incentives the American Rescue Plan put in place, several states are considering Medicaid Expansion. Wyoming’s House of Representatives recently passed a bill, although passage in the Senate is more questionable. Tennessee’s legislature also reportedly considering expansion.
As can be seen below, COVID case changes have been more regionalized in recent weeks. Michigan cases and hospitalizations increases are currently the worst in the nation.
3/18/2021: Week in Washington
3/11/2021: Week in Washington
3/04/2021: Week in Washington
2/25/2021: Week in Washington