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
Democratic leadership in the House and Senate continue to discuss which items to include in its major reconciliation bill (timing still TBD but likely fall).
- Medicare – Senate Majority Leader Schumer publicly endorsed a plan to add dental, vision, and hearing coverage to Medicare, increasing the prospects that policy will be included in the final legislation.
Medicaid – House Democrats continue to debate ways to provide coverage to those in the Medicaid gap. Currently, allowing individual counties to expand or allowing individuals in the Medicaid coverage gap to purchase coverage in the individual market are two leading ideas.
- Prescription Drug – Senator Ron Wyden outlined a proposal for tackling prescription drug costs. The plan would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and apply those lower rates to other programs (both public and private.)
- The Supreme Court will not hear an appeal of CSR Case. Consequently, issuers looking for compensation for unpaid CSR amounts in 2018 and beyond will need to prove “injury” that premium loading did not sufficiently compensate them for unpaid CSR amounts. For more details on the case, you can read Katie Keith here.
News and Notes
- Medicaid Enrollment – HHS released data that a record number of people, over 80 million individuals, had coverage through Medicaid or CHIP as of January 2021. This is an increase of nearly 14% since February 2020. You can find the data here.
Take-Up – Interesting research showed differential effects by FPL for outreach. HHS is planning far more outreach for this upcoming ACA Open Enrollment, which could result in a larger uptake than expected.
COVID – The number of COVID cases continues to decrease, although large geographic differences in vaccine rates have increased concern for localized patterns of COVID outbreaks.
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