This Week in Washington: CMS Releases Annual Payment Rules for Skilled Nursing Facilities, Hospice and Other Segments of Medicare


House and Senate on Recess


House Energy and Commerce Chair Questions SAMHSA on COVID-19 Spending and Action on Mental Illness

On April 5, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), joined by Reps. Guthrie (R-KY) and Griffith (R-VA), sent a letter to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Administrator Dr. Miriam Delphin-Rittmon. The letter asked for information concerning: 

  • SAMHSA’s supplemental COVID-19 funds and how they were used;
  • A 2021 outage of the 9-8-8 suicide hotline; and
  • The new Office of Recovery and how it will support mental illness treatment efforts.

For more information, click here.


Senate Committee Chairmen Urge HHS to Allow Continued Medicare Coverage of COVID-19 At-Home Tests

On April 4, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Bob Casey (D-PA) led 16 senators in sending a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, urging HHS to continue allowing Medicare to cover the costs of rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests following the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) unwinding on May 11. The senators are concerned about the impact the loss of Medicare coverage for COVID-19 at-home tests would have on vulnerable populations such as seniors and people with disabilities.

The other senators who signed the letter include Democratic senators Blumenthal (CT), Warren (MA), Merkley (OR), Duckworth (IL), Reed (RI), Stabenow (MI), Whitehouse (RI), Cardin (MD), Menendez (NJ), Brown (OH), Smith (MN), Kaine (VA), Kelly (AZ) and Warner (VA). Sens. Sinema (I-AZ) and King (I-ME) also signed.

For more information, click here.

Drug Price Transparency in Medicaid Act of 2023 Introduced

On April 4, Sens. Marshall (R-KS) and Welch (D-VT) introduced the Drug Price Transparency in Medicaid Act of 2023. The bill would prohibit pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) from using spread pricing. Spread pricing refers to a technique used by PBMs whereby PBMs charge Medicaid more than they pay pharmacies for a particular drug. The bill would also require Medicaid payments made to PBMs to go directly through pharmacies, and would require pharmacies participating in state Medicaid programs to report National Average Drug Acquisition Costs (NADAC), to ensure prescription drug price transparency. A companion bill was introduced by Reps. Carter (R-GA) and Gonzalez (D-TX) in the House.

For more information, click here.

Read more on healthcare policy in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Washington Healthcare Update.