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Where Washingtonians go for Afternoon Delight

Hot Topics | August 20th, 2021

The story of Washington, D.C. singing/songwriting duo Taffy Nivert and Bill Danoff does not end in 1970 after they composed “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” (Read our last edition of Policy News for that tale.) A few years later Nivert and Danoff formed the Starland Vocal Band, which cult fans of 70’s pop music may know from their single “Afternoon Delight.” In this week’s edition of Policy News, we share the decidedly D.C. (and safe for work) origins of everyone’s favorite song about a midday tryst.

The year was 1974, and Bill was dining with friend and fellow Starland member Margot Chapman at Clyde’s restaurant in Georgetown. The two were having a late lunch, and Bill noticed that Clyde’s was serving a menu from three to six called “Afternoon Delights.” After having his fill of spiced shrimp and hot Brie with almonds, Bill went to visit Taffy who was recovering from a cervical cancer operation to explain that he was going to write a song about what afternoon delight “should be.” The song would go on to top the charts in 1976, although as Taffy would later joke: “The song was huge but no one could remember the name of the group!”

And now for this week’s healthcare public policy news, which we hope you’ll find interesting, if not delightful:

Big news on boosters

  • Amid rising infections from the Delta variant of COVID-19, the White House’s most senior health advisors announced on Wednesday that booster shots will be recommended for all Americans eight months after their last dose. The White House would like to begin offering booster shots the week of September 20th, though timing is subject to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) review of clinical trial data and a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (Roll Call, Axios, The Hill)
    • Read more: This decision from the White House is not without its critics. A number of scientists and public policy experts have spoken out against the plan to offer Americans COVID-19 booster shots. (STAT)

A mandate that will impact millions

  • Also on Wednesday, President Biden announced that the approximately 1.3 million workers employed by nursing homes will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Facilities whose workers are not fully vaccinated will have Medicare and Medicaid funding withheld. (The Hill, Axios) Associations representing providers were cool to the idea, expressing concern that the mandate would worsen staff shortages in the industry. (The Washington Postfull text below)

The tussle over drug price transparency

  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (representing the country’s pharmacy benefit managers) have filed a lawsuit against the federal government to stop a Trump-era regulation that would require the disclosure of prices for drugs and medical services. The lawsuit argues the regulation is illegal because of a change made to the proposed regulation that was incorporated into the final rule, as well as a potential conflict with an existing federal law. (Axios)

FDA Faces

  • Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn gave an interview to the Associated Press (AP) where he advocated for additional safeguards to protect the agency from political interference. (AP – Washington Bureau)
  • Bloomberg reported that Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock is no longer under consideration to lead the agency permanently. (Bloombergfull text below)
  • Ellis Unger, the long-time head of the Office of Drug Evaluation-I, has announced he will retire after 25 years at the agency. (STATfull text below)

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