Washington Update, February 2021


Washington Update

What’s New in Washington?
by Johanna Gray

As Joe notes above, there are many new policymakers in DC and things are starting to ramp up, both in Congress and in the Biden Administration. Here’s the latest:

  • COVID Relief:

    Congress is now considering the American Rescue Plan, a new $1.9 trillion COVID relief package. The bill includes provisions to extend unemployment benefits, provide funding to accelerate vaccination distribution, and provide additional financial support to American families, small businesses, nonprofits and many specific industries (restaurants, modes of transportation, etc). The bill also includes several policies to improve access to health insurance, including: a financial incentive for states to extend Medicaid that haven’t; expanding access to and generosity of tax credits for people to purchase insurance on the ACA Marketplaces; and subsidizing coverage for people who have lost their jobs, either through COBRA or on the marketplaces. Congressional leaders are hoping to have the bill enacted into law by mid-March. We will provide updates as the bill progresses.

  • Reopening of Open Enrollment for Marketplaces:

    In response to the millions of Americans who have lost coverage due to the COVID economic crisis, the Biden Administration has just reopened the federally-managed ACA marketplaces for a special enrollment period until May 15th. If you have patients or friends or family members who have lost coverage and need access to insurance, please refer them to www.healthcare.gov. More information about the special enrollment period may be found here.

  • Biden ACA Executive Order (EO):

    On January 28th, President Biden signed an Executive Order on Strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. The EO directs federal agencies to review their policies for elements that might impede access to Medicaid coverage (such as state waivers that allow for work requirements for Medicaid enrollees) or jeopardize coverage under the ACA. As you may remember from past EOs, they typically just set broad policies that then have to be implemented via further regulations in the future. There have been a few quick policy changes in response to the EO, including the reopening of the marketplaces described above. The Department of Justice also said that it was switching its position on the ACA lawsuit currently awaiting a ruling at the US Supreme Court to support implementation of the ACA.

  • We expect a very busy winter and spring as the new Congress and Biden Administration further ramp up their activities. We will provide regular updates via the Newsletter and Alliance webinar series and always encourage centers to contact us with any questions.


Also in this Issue…

Notes from Joe
· Interesting

Legal Update
· State Laws Regulating Pharmacy Reimbursement, ERISA, and the Supreme Court – What Could Rutledge Mean for 340B Covered Entities?

Payer Update
· Update on Disease Management Program

Alliance Update
· Introducing our new Board Member
· Harmony in Hemophilia Update
· Membership Dues and Benefits
· 2021 Meeting Schedule

Notes from the Community
· Reminder about the Patient Notification System