Week In Washington:Medicare for All, CBO Scores, and More

May 2, 2019

The big health news this week was on Medicare for all.

  • For the first time (at least since 2009) the House had a hearing on potential Medicare for all policies. The hearing was designed to gain support for the proposal. The exact contours of a Medicare for All policy are still being worked on.
  • CBO released key considerations on implementing Medicare for All. While the report did not include any scores or budget figures, it is an excellent synthesis on key decisions and challenges any Medicare for All policy would face. You can read the report here.  

Prescription Drug Bill

  • News circulated that Speaker Pelosi and President Trump where in negotiations over a potential prescription drug bill. One surprising issue on the table, according to the Hill, is the issue of Medicare negotiating with drug companies to set drug prices. The article notes that such a bill would be difficult to pass.


  • CBO, using its new health insurance model, released its projection for health coverage in the US for 2019 to 2029. You can read the report here. A few highlights:
    • The individual market is expected to decrease in size to 11 million in 2029. Currently it’s estimated to be around 14 million lives
    • The ACA benchmark premium is expected to increase at around 5.5% annually over the next ten years.
    • The number of uninsured is expected to increase by about 5 million individuals.
    • Medicaid enrollment is expected to increase by about 2 million by 2029.
    • Medicare subsidies are projected to increase at a slower rate than private insurance or Medicaid subsidies.

Texas v. US

  • The Department of Justice officially released its brief for the 5th Circuit Court. As previously announced the DOJ is asking the court to overturn the entire ACA. The case is expected to eventually reach the Supreme Court, which would rule on the matter in June of 2020.


  • The Department of Justice officially appealed the ruling that AHPs created under the regulation violated Federal law. Additionally, the Department of Labor announced that it would be not taking enforcement actions against AHPs formed under the new regulations. Enrollees in these plans can stay there until the next benefit year.