Week In Washington: Hearings, Hill Bills, and ACA Repair Plans

February 28, 2019

Hearings - The major action on the Hill this week (at least on the Health policy front) was hearings around drug prices. CEOs of the major pharmaceutical companies testified before Congress. In a rare display of bipartisanship, both parties condemned pharmaceutical companies for the increase in drug prices. Senator Grassley is likely the key figure to monitor for any pharmaceutical bill.

Hill Watch – Senators and Congressmen continued to propose new bills on healthcare. While none appear to have traction, it is useful to see what issues have prominence as they may be included later on. In that vein, Senators Warner and Jones released a bill in which states that newly expand their Medicaid programs would receive initial Federal matching on par with the original years (i.e., 100% rather than 90%).

Health Insurance Fee – There are now several Health Insurance Tax delay/elimination bills floating around both the Hill and Senate. No word of anything particular being passing but for the first time since December there is some movement on the issue.

State Watch

  • Virginia announced that since it expanded Medicaid it has newly enrolled over 230,000 people.
  • Idaho legislature is poised to approve Medicaid Expansion.
  • Georgia is poised to pass a bill that would allow the Governor to pursue some form of Medicaid expansion/1115 waiver. As the bill includes broad language it’s unclear what the partial Medicaid expansion could include

ACA Repair Plan - Blue Cross Blue Shield Association released its proposed recommendations to improve the ACA. The plan includes payment of cost-sharing reduction coupled with an increase in subsidies, especially for those that would be harmed by the lower silver premiums (and hence APTCs) as a result of cost-sharing reduction payments. You can read the highlights here.

1332 FAQ – CMS released a FAQ for states interested in 1332 waivers and how the pass-through is calculated. You can read it here.