Week in Washington 120921

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


Sequestration Bill/Debt Ceiling

The Senate is expected to raise the debt ceiling and to make changes to upcoming cuts to Medicare due to Sequestration in the coming days. The changes to Medicare sequestration/payments include the following:  

  • A moratorium on the 2% cut until March, with a 1% cut through June.

  • A 3% Medicare payment booster (down from last year’s 3.75% bump)

  • A delay in the 4% PAYGO Sequestration cut until 2023

  • Delays in other Medicare cuts (laboratory space, Medicare radiation oncology model)

Build Back Better Updates

Build Back Better Senate language is supposed to be released within the next week. In particular, an official ruling from the parliamentarian as to which provisions are able to be included in the Senate bill is also expected next week. The Senate Majority Leader is pushing for a vote before Congress goes on recess for Christmas, although there is growing possibility the vote could slip to January.


  • COVID cases dramatically rose this past week (41%) . Additionally, hospitalization number (60,000) reached the highest levels since early October

  • Initial data on the Omicron variant seems to be pointing to data that individuals with a booster shot retain significant protection albeit those with only two-shots or prior infection are less protected.

News and Notes

CMS released the latest ACA Open Enrollment figures

A few highlights

  • Overall enrollment is likely up about 8% in the Healthcare.gov states year over year

    • Medicaid non-Expansion states are especially having good OEs this year.

    • Texas, Alaska, Ohio, Utah, Florida, Arkansas, and the Dakotas are all up more than 10% year over year

  • New enrollments are down (8.6%) – so essentially enrollment growth is due to retaining members that joined during the year.

Previous editions: 

12/02/2021: Week in Washington

11/18/2021: Week in Washington

11/11/2021: Week in Washington

11/04/2021: Week in Washington



10/28/2021: Week in Washington

10/21/2021: Week in Washington

10/14/2021: Week in Washington

10/07/2021: Week in Washington


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