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 Biden Administration announced this week that the Exchange enrollment has already hit a record high Open Enrollment number. Over 20 million people have signed up for coverage. This represents about a 30% increase over last year and about 8 million more people since 2021. West Virginia, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee, and Indiana have had particularly large enrollment increases. The exact reasons for such a large increase are unclear but some reasons might be a combination of: Medicaid redetermination, increased outreach, a growing impact of enhanced subsidies, and the family glitch fix.
Congress is rapidly approaching a partial government shutdown. Without a budget resolution, part of the government will close next Friday, January 19th. Given the lack of time, it is likely Congress will be forced to pass a continuing resolution rather than a permanent budget solution.
It’s important to note the longer it takes Congress to resolve the budget the less opportunity there is to pass other legislations. Issues from changing Medicare payment rates to site neutrality to PBMs to drug costs for seniors are all issues that could be legislated on. If budget negotiations continue to drag on, these issues would be unlikely to pass until the lame duck session after the election.
The FDA approved Florida’s application to be able to import drugs from Canada. Florida plans on attempting to broker deals that would allow it to purchase drugs for certain public programs like inmates or Medicaid enrollees. There are currently no agreed upon deals yet. The FDA’s approval may also encourage other states to apply for such a waiver.
Inflation slightly ticked up in December (3.4%) due to increases in housing costs. Overall inflation remains much lower than the previous two years and unlikely to trigger a Federal Reserve rate hike.
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