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Details of the potential reconciliation bill have started to leak as Senate and House leaders race to get language and agreements for the bill. Democratic House and Senate members are aiming to have a bill ready by the end of the month. Below are a few news stories on potential directions the bill could take:
Medicare Dental coverage – The Washington Post reported the Senate is eyeing vouchers for Medicare beneficiaries for paying for dental coverage. This is partly because several health officials reported it would take three to five years for a dental program to be set up. The vouchers would be available in the interim until the program was fully set up.
Prescription drugs- Stat News reported that the Senate is considering including a provision pegging Medicare drug prices to domestic reference drug pricing (e.g., VA rates). The Biden Administration released a white paper on both legislative and administrative ways to reduce drug prices
Medicaid - The Washington Post reported The Energy and Commerce Committee proposed to create a permanent new federal Medicaid program in non-expansion states albeit using the ACA Exchanges as a transition until the new program is ready.
While unfortunately hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID have increased in the past week, it does appear that COVID case increases have flattened out. This is because improvements in places like Florida and Mississippi have been offset by increases in places like Ohio and, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
The Biden Administration announced plans to require COVID vaccine for front line health workers that work at hospitals or facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding. This could affect more than 50,000 health facilities and 17 million workers.
ACA – 1332 Waivers
CMS announced updated federal funding to states that have 1332 based reinsurance programs. Overall, 13 states received an additional $452 million dollars. Depending on the states exact reinsurance parameters, insurers could have large increases in their reinsurance payments for the 2021 benefit year.
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