HealthCare Roundtable e-News – November 24, 2021

Deadline Extended: Sign-on Opportunity to Protect EGWPs

The Roundtable has been leading advocacy efforts across diverse stakeholders in Washington to protect EGWPs in the Medicare Part D redesign efforts as part of the Build Back Better legislation. Unfortunately, a fix has yet to be included in the legislation.

We invite plan members to sign the attached letter to Congressional leadership to protect EGWP plans!

Please email Roundtable Senior Policy Advisor, Andrew MacPherson (andrew@healthcareroundtable.us) by close of business on Monday, November 29th, if you would like your organization to sign the letter. Thank you!

House Passes Build Back Better After CBO Scores Confirm Earlier Estimates

On Friday, November 19th, House lawmakers voted to pass President Joe Biden’s social reform spending bill after the Congressional Budget Office released scores confirming the White House’s estimates on savings from the bill. The package, known as the Build Back Better bill, passed by a vote of 220-213 and now heads to the Senate. 

The $1.75 trillion bill includes a new short-term fix to the Medicaid coverage gap and extension of temporary enhanced Affordable Care Act tax credits, as well as $150 billion for home care—including technical assistance for state home- and community-based improvement programs—and an extra year of Medicare hearing benefits. Additionally, the House approved an annual cap on seniors’ out-of-pocket drug costs and new authority for Medicare to negotiate drug prices. Further changes are anticipated for the bill as it heads to the Senate, where lawmakers will likely modify the legislation to meet budget reconciliation restrictions. (InsideHealthPolicy) 

The vote, which was originally scheduled to take place Thursday evening, was rescheduled after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) gave a speech lasting more than 8 hours in an attempt to stall the bill, calling it “another unnecessary spending binge.” Prior to the vote, which ultimately took place on Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) commented on the package, “If you’re a parent, a senior, a child, a worker, if you’re an American, this bill is for you.”

The price tag of the bill, down from the original projected $3.5 trillion, had dwindled throughout negotiations within the Democratic party as moderates opposed the bill’s cost and some climate, prescription drug and tax provisions. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (W. Va.) will have the opportunity to review the bill in the Senate, alongside Democratic lawmakers—including Stephanie Murphy of Florida—who said that they would support the bill after the scores from the Congressional Budget Office came through as expected.