McDermottPlus Healthcare Preview: Week of October 11, 2021

CRISIS (TEMPORARILY) ADVERTED

A Debt Limit Deferred. On Thursday night last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell managed to secure the votes of 10 other Republicans to support his debt limit compromise, which included a $480 billion increase to the debt ceiling. McConnell’s floor strategy: get just enough Republican support to overcome the filibuster and then allow the Democrats to pass the increase by a simple majority. Once the House passes the increase tomorrow, the government should remain good on its debts until early December, meaning it will likely coincide with the need to address government funding again, which runs out on December 3, 2021. The House is in recess but has been called back for a vote on October 12. The debt limit increase is expected to pass. Expect early December to feel a lot like late September, and perhaps even more intense depending on how reconciliation shapes up in the coming weeks.

Speaking of Reconciliation… With the House in recess and a week in the Senate devoted to the debt limit, the reconciliation headline remains the same: Democrats are working on revising the package to approximately $2 trillion (give or take a few hundred billion). Beyond that, no significant new details have emerged.

Outpatient Payment Rule at OMB. The final CY 2022 Outpatient Prospective Payment System and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment System Rule are under review at the Office of Management and Budget. The proposed rule included policies related to reversing elimination of the inpatient-only list; increasing penalties for hospitals to drive compliance with price transparency requirements; implementing quality measurements related to health equity; a request for information about a soon to be established Rural Emergency Hospital designation; and plans to implement the Radiation Oncology Alternative Payment Model as of January 1, 2022.

Pin this: Janet Woodcock has served as acting head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since President Biden took office. On her tenure in this post, some complicated math under federal law puts a deadline of November 15, 2021. However, if President Biden nominates a candidate by then (and Woodcock is not a contender), she can serve until the Senate confirms the nominee.

THIS WEEK IN THE SENATE

The Senate is in recess this week.

THIS WEEK IN THE HOUSE

The House will vote on the Senate Amendment to the House Amendment to S. 1301 – Temporary Extension of Public Debt Limit on October 12, 2021.

Due to Columbus Day, there is not an episode of the Healthcare Preview podcast this week. Instead, we present this bonus episode of “In The Trenches,” A McDermott WIll & Emery Health Law Podcast with Brian Stimson. On this episode, Brian and Debbie Curtis discuss:

  • Debbie’s experience with health policy on Capitol Hill
  • Lessons learned from growing the DC Health Exchange
  • Debbie’s perspective on the Administration’s prioritization of health equity and approaches to Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Insights into the potential post-pandemic public healthcare priorities of the Administration and the Congress, including hospital structures and telehealth
  • Key issues for today’s public health system