via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), by email:
Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the latest enrollment figures for Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These programs serve as key connectors to care for more millions of Americans.
As of January 2022, over 64.2M people are enrolled in Medicare. This is an increase of 52K since the last report.
34.9M are enrolled in Original Medicare.
29.3M are enrolled in Medicare Advantage or other health plans. This includes enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans with and without prescription drug coverage.
49.8M are enrolled in Medicare Part D. This includes enrollment in stand-alone prescription drug plans as well as Medicare Advantage plans that offer prescription drug coverage.
Nearly 11.9 million individuals are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, so are counted in the enrollment figures for both programs.
With the Build Back Better Act having passed the U.S. House of Representatives last fall only to come screeching to a halt when it reached the U.S. Senate due to all 50 Republicans + Dem. Senator Joe Manchin refusing to support it, Congressional Democrats have started introducing standalone bills in an attempt to push through at least some of the more popular provisions.
The Biden-Harris Administration is announcing today that more than 59 million Americans with Medicare Part B, including those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, now have access to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, authorized, or cleared over-the-counter COVID-19 tests at no cost. People with Medicare can get up to eight tests per calendar month from participating pharmacies and health care providers for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
As expected, the healthcare section of President Biden's first address to a joint session of Congress (technically not a State of the Union, but close enough) included a call for making the subsidies expanded under the American Rescue Plan permanent as part of the American Families Plan.
Also as expected, he did not call for other major healthcare reform priorities to be baked into the #AmFamPlan.
He did, however, spend significant time calling for those other priorities to be passed separately from the AFP...considerably more than he did on the subsidies themselves.
Before I get into the proposed healthcare policies: Early on in the speech, Biden gave a shout-out to his Administration for the success of the current, ongoing COVID Special Enrollment Period:
This morning, healthcare reform advocacy organization Protect Our Care held a webinar in which they went over the results of a new national survey of 1,200 Americans conducted a couple of weeks ago called, simply enough, "Next Steps on Healthcare: What Voters Want".
For the most part, none of the results are terribly surprising:
Lowering the cost of healthcare and expanding affordable health insurance coverage is a top priority for a large majority of voters.
There's strong support across the board for three major healthcare proposals:
Lowering the cost of health insurance for people who purchase coverage on their own
Giving Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices
Giving low-income Americans who are uninsured the opportunity to obtain health insurance at little or no cost
Several of the questions were more about the framing of the issues--that is, which specific types of messaging work best.
The Biden Administration's first major bill was, of course, the American Rescue Plan, which actually consisted of perhaps a dozen smaller bills which were debated and passed out of a bunch of different House/Senate committees individually before being merged together into the larger package bill.
The White House is expected to roll out the health care priorities for its two-part infrastructure package sometime this Spring, and the health piece potentially could move separately now that the Senate parliamentarian has agreed Democrats have another shot passing their priorities through a simple majority. While there appears to be consensus that the bill will expand, or make permanent, the Affordable Care Act tax credits from the American Rescue Plan, other policies are less clear and will likely depend on the amount of offsets lawmakers can glean from drug-pricing measures.
Pelosi: Drug Pricing May Pay For Health Care Pieces Of Infrastructure Bill
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said everything is on the table for the next legislative package that is expected to focus on infrastructure improvements and include health care provisions like a permanent increase to the Affordable Care Act tax credits — and she said the package likely will be paid for by tackling prescription drug prices.
...Pelosi said including House Democrats’ drug pricing bill, H.R.3, would pay for $500 billion of the cost of the infrastructure bill, part of which could be used to boost ACA tax credits and make ACA coverage more affordable. The savings also could also be used for other health-related efforts, she said. For example, House Energy & Commerce Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) has been working with Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) to expand community health centers and to improve broadband services, which would support telehealth.
(sigh) Honestly not sure why I'm bothering posting this. Anyone who doesn't understand that the only promises Trump keeps are the racist, xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic, antisemitic and corrupt ones by this point is either a complete idiot or willfully ignorant:
The Trump administration wants to slash billions of dollars in federal support from Medicaid, food stamps and other safety net programs for the poor, while largely sparing the Medicare program that benefits seniors.