Week in Washington: Coronavirus Tops Health News

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: Coronavirus Tops Health News

This week the world focused on the expanding concern over a dangerous coronavirus (the disease is labeled Covid-19). The situation is changing rapidly but as of 2/27/20 here is a quick summary of what we know. 


What is it?

The new virus is a type of coronavirus. The virus causes an infection of the respiratory tract. It is likely to spread through “respiratory droplets” (i.e., close contact via coughing and sneezing). It has not been shown to transmit via air. 

Who Is Most at Risk?

Initial data from China points to the risk being highest for older individuals and individuals with existing comorbidities, such as diabetes. However it’s important to stress that this information is preliminary and may change.

Why the high level of concern?

The CDC has posted that COVID-19 represents a high potential public health threat. This is because preliminary data shows that the virus has a transmission rate high enough that it could become a pandemic and a fatality rate well in excess of influenza rates. Again, it should be stressed these initial data points are primarily based on the experience in Wuhan, China, which could have confounding factors, and could change.   

Any good summaries or stats?

  • The CDC maintains information here
  • Wall Street Journal has a good overall summary here
  • A good summary of initial data of the initial impact in China by age can be found here
  • A chart that categorizes other diseases in terms of deadliness and contagiousness can be found here

Other News of Note

Colorado Public Option – The Governor of Colorado officially released its proposal to create a public option. The option would save enrollees 7 to 20% based on changes in hospital reimbursement rates. Wakely Consulting conducted the actuarial analysis for the state. 

Medicaid Rules in 2020 – Jessica Schubel does a great job connecting some of the President’s 2021 budget proposal and future Medicaid regulations coming in 2020. In particular, regulations that would increase the flexibility states would have in increasing the frequency eligibility determination, reducing funding for eligibility workers, and the potential rule on non-emergency medical transportation.

Never miss a Week in Washington post when you
©2017-2020 Wakely Consulting Group LLC  All Rights Reserved. The materials in this document represent the opinion of the authors and are not representative of the views of Wakely Consulting Group. Wakely does not certify the information, nor does it guarantee the accuracy and completeness of such information. Use of this information is voluntary.