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Margaret French

Manager of Legislative Affairs

Margaret French is the manager of legislative affairs at America's Essential Hospitals.

Republicans are expected to take the majority in the House, although by a much slimmer margin than previously predicted. Democrats, meanwhile, will retain their Senate majority and might build on it with a runoff election in Georgia.

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Following the midterm elections, the House Democratic Caucus and the House Republican Conference will elect party leadership for the 118th Congress.

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The document is the latest in a series addressing mental health policy challenges and focuses on increased integration, coordination, and access to care. A fifth and final document could be released in coming weeks.

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With the 2022 midterm elections two weeks away, congressional lawmakers have started the sprint toward Election Day. Must-do items, including legislation to fund the federal government, will keep them busy in the post-election period.

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The Biden administration extended the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) through Jan. 11, 2023, and would notify providers by Nov. 11 of ending the PHE after that date. The decision extends PHE-related waivers and policies.

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A new commentary in Health Affairs Forefront argues for creating a federal designation for essential hospitals to ensure they receive the support needed to meet their safety net mission. Also, the association publishes its annual member characteristics report, Essential Data 2022.

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On Sept. 30, Congress passed and President Joe Biden signed legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 16. The legislation also continues several federal health programs through that same date and extends U.S. Food and Drug Administration user fees for five years.

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Bipartisan legislation to fund the government through mid-December saw progress with a deal to reauthorize FDA user fee programs, but obstacles remain to a final bill before the Sept. 30 end of the current fiscal year.

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Congressional negotiators are holding closely the details of talks on short-term legislation expected to extend government funding through mid-December and avert a shutdown at midnight, Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

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Lawmakers are working to balance Democrats' calls for more COVID-19 and Monkeypox funding under a continuing resolution with Republicans' demands for a "clean" bill to fund the government through the November midterm elections.

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The Biden administration requests an additional $47 billion in emergency funding in the continuing resolution, including $22.4 billion to fight COVID-19; Congress must reauthorize the FDA user fee program by Sept. 30.

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Lawmakers return to their states and districts for August recess following last week's passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. The bill includes provisions of note for essential hospitals, including those to extend Affordable Care Act subsidies and fight climate change.

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The bill, which passed by a 51-50 margin, would extend Affordable Care Act subsidies through 2025, allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, invest in measures to mitigate climate change, and make other changes of interest to essential hospitals.

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The $433 billion Inflation Reduction Act would allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and would extend expanded Affordable Care Act subsidies for three years. It also includes tax provisions and new investments related to energy and climate change.

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Work continues on a bill to advance through the reconciliation process by a Sept. 30 deadline. America's Essential Hospitals is pressing lawmakers to include more support for essential hospitals in the final package.

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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) again halts Build Back Better human infrastructure package negotiations; House lawmakers will vote on a FY 2023 appropriations minibus.

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Senate Democrats work to pass a revived human infrastructure bill before the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30. The updated legislative language includes a Medicare prescription drug pricing proposal approved by all 50 Senate Democrats.

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The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act seeks to close gaps in current gun safety laws and bolster mental health care, including through new support for hospitals and other providers.

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The committee released a discussion draft of policies to improve youth mental health, the second of an expected five discussion drafts from the committee in advance of their full mental health legislative proposal.

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Amid gun control negotiations and the Jan. 6 hearings, House appropriators will unveil their initial plans for fiscal 2023 spending with a goal of marking up all 12 appropriations bills before the July Fourth recess.

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Both chambers of Congress return from the Memorial Day recess to a packed legislative agenda, including possible action on curbing gun violence following the Uvalde, Texas, shootings. Democratic leaders continue to negotiate possible paths to infrastructure legislation.

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House and Senate lawmakers work to finalize a roughly $40 billion aid package for Ukraine but remain stalled on consideration of a COVID-19 aid package; a House panel considers two bills to reauthorize various federal health programs.

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President Joe Biden signed a $1.5 trillion fiscal year 2022 spending package; he already signed a four-day continuing resolution to provide time for the omnibus spending measure to move forward. 

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Congress continues work on a roughly $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill to fund the government past March 11, but outstanding issues might force lawmakers to pass another short-term funding extension to buy additional time to reach a deal.

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President Joe Biden signed a continuing resolution to keep the government funded through March 11; Biden invited all members of Congress to attend the annual State of the Union address on March 1.

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House lawmakers noted upcoming federal funding legislation could be an opportunity for additional COVID-19 relief. A Senate committee examines COVID-19 variants and the federal response. Both chambers released draft schedules for their 2022 work.

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The legislation delays looming Medicare payment cuts and creates an expedited pathway for debt limit relief; Senate Democrats this week are expected to release legislative text for a $2 trillion debt limit increase — sufficient to last through the 2022 midterm election.

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The $1.9 trillion package temporarily increases Medicaid disproportionate share hospital allotments to ensure essential hospitals receive the same level of payments as they would have expected absent the pandemic. The package returns to the House for a final vote, expected as early as Tuesday.

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In a letter to Senate leaders, America's Essential Hospitals outlines key legislative priorities to assist essential hospitals in the ongoing response to the COVID-19 public health emergency as Congress considers another supplemental bill.

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The bipartisan legislation provides $484 billion in resources across the Department of Health and Human Services and the Small Business Administration, including an additional $75 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund for providers.

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President Trump signed a short-term continuing resolution delaying disproportionate share hospital funding cuts to Nov. 22; House Speaker Pelosi launched an impeachment inquiry.

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