KHN’s ‘What is health?’: Washington’s slow churning

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In the wake of three high-profile shootings in less than a month, Capitol Hill lawmakers have renegotiated legislation that could prevent gun violence. But even those trying to reach an agreement on the long-running issue acknowledge that finding consensus is a huge task.

Meanwhile, Congress is running out of time to decide whether to increase the current additional subsidy to buy their own health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. States and insurers are now setting rates for 2023; In the absence of congressional action, those higher premiums will be made public before the midterm elections.

This week’s panelists are KHN’s Julie Rovner, The New York Times’ Margot Sanger-Katz, CQ Roll Call’s Evening Raman and Stat’s Rachel Cohrs.

In this week’s episode Takeway:

  • Medicare officials pressured Capitol Hill lawmakers to cut beneficiaries’ premiums after a 12% jump this year because it was expected that the federal health plan for seniors would hit with high bills to cover an expensive new drug to treat some cases of Alzheimer’s. Diseases. When Medicare chooses to limit the coverage of that drug, Eduhelm, due to concerns about its safety and efficacy, premium growth is likely to decline. But officials said last week that they would not adjust until next year’s premium.
  • This decision appears to have been made because the mid-year change in premium had not been attempted before and could prove administratively complex.
  • Although Medicare costs and benefits are often politically important issues, this huge premium increase did not give rise to much criticism. This may be because the average social security coverage has also increased significantly this year, which has helped cover price increases.
  • Discussions among senators on possible measures to reduce gun violence are hitting issues that have avoided approval since the last mass shootings, raising concerns that the effort could easily fall apart. Discussions do not touch on the most controversial measures that proponents of gun control usually want, but negotiators may also be willing to discuss more than many gun-rights advocates have felt comfortable with in the past. So far, both Republicans and Democrats involved in the talks appear to be engaged in trying to find a way forward, but the effort is subtle and no one is yet predicting how it will end.
  • Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.), who withdrew from discussions on President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” law late last year, indicated last week that curbing drug prices, part of that package, remained at its core. Anxiety. This could further signal that talks on a more limited legal package could move forward.
  • Democrats are under pressure to move quickly if they want to extend premium subsidies for plans purchased in ACA insurance marketplaces. These massive subsidies are due to expire at the end of the year, but state regulators are already working on pricing for the 2023 plan, and some of those calculations are based on estimates of how many people will be enrolled.
  • As the latest Covid-19 variant begins to emerge, a group of Americans stands as vulnerable: children under 5. There is growing frustration among parents, although federal regulators are considering requesting drug manufacturers to approve the vaccine. These vaccines, however, may have limited efficacy for an older version of the virus and against existing forms.
  • Responding to a leaked draft opinion suggesting that the Supreme Court was preparing to repeal its 1973 constitutional protection for abortion. Rowe vs. Wade Deciding, some local prosecutors have announced that they will not bring criminal cases against the healthcare professionals who provide abortions. However, this is unlikely to be of much help to local clinics or doctors, who are expected to stop providing such care if faced with criminal charges.

Also this week, Rovner interviewed Michelle Andrews, who wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a very common problem and wrote that patients undergoing colonoscopy when trying to access cost-effective preventive care under the ACA Is face to face. If you have an objectionable medical bill that you would like to share with us, you can do so here.

Also, for extra credit, panelists recommend health policy stories of their choice for the week that they think you should read:

Julie Rovner: NPR Throline’s “Before Row: The Physicians Crusade,” by Rund Abdelfatah, Ramtin Arablui, Julie Kane, Lane Kaplan-Levenson, Lawrence Wu, Victor Evalez, Cassie Miner, Eolanda Sangweni, Ania Stuart

Rachel Kohrs: By Jennifer Maloney of the Wall Street Journal “Breastfeeding rates have made infant formula deficits worse”

Margot Sanger-Katz: The Washington Post’s “Opinion: Breastfeeding is not ‘free.’ By Alyssa Rosenberg What I value here

Evening Raman: “From skepticism to insurance denial, long-suffering patients face more than just a health challenge,” states Anmari Timmins.

Also discussed in this week’s podcast:

Politico Pro’s “Health Organization Launches Environmental Justice Initiative,” by Sara Overmohle

Status of “Infinite Covid-19 could be a step backwards for hospitals to care,” by Rachel Kohars

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