KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Washington’s Slow Churn

by | Jun 2, 2022 | Health

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In the wake of three high-profile mass shootings in less than a month, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have renewed negotiations over legislation that could stem gun violence. But even those who are trying to reach an agreement on the long-divisive issue acknowledge that finding consensus remains an enormous task.

Meanwhile, Congress is running out of time to decide whether to extend the current additional subsidies for people buying 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 much-higher premiums would become public right before the midterm elections.

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

Among the takeaways from this week’s episode:

Medicare officials were under pressure from lawmakers on Capitol Hill to lower beneficiaries’ premiums after they jumped 12% this year because of expectations that the federal health plan for seniors would be hit with high bills for covering an expensive new medicine to treat some cases of Alzheimer’s disease. When Medicare opted to limit coverage of that medication, Aduhelm, over concerns about its safety and effectiveness, the premium increase appeared likely to be reduced. But officials said last week that they wouldn’t make the adjustment until next year’s premiums.That decision appears to have been made because a midyear change in premiums has not been attempted before and could prove administratively complex.Although Medicare costs and benefits are often politically salient issues, this large premium increase did not generate much criticism. That may be because the average Social Security payment also increased substantially this year, which helped cover the p …

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