Advocacy Alert

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On the Hill: House Panel Hears Testimony on Medicaid Proposals

Julia Grady
May 7, 2024

A key health panel in the House met last week to examine legislative proposals to improve Medicaid access and program integrity and heard testimony on several bills, including those on nursing home staffing, state-direct payments, and managed care organization oversight.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing April 30 featuring testimony by Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services Director Daniel Tsai. Lawmakers considered bills to make the Money Follows the Person Demonstration Program permanent, block nursing home staffing requirements, boost transparency into state-directed payments, and strengthen oversight of Medicaid managed care organizations.

Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.) focused his questions and comments on the negative consequences to hospitals providing safety net care of Section 203 restrictions on how states may use Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments.

Hearing on Health Care Workforce Challenges

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee last week heard testimony on the shortage of minority health care professionals and the maternal health crisis. The hearing largely focused on federal efforts to expand the country’s minority health care professional workforce. Committee members considered several potential policies, including expanded access to community colleges, federal support for historically black colleges and universities, apprenticeship programs, K-12 educational investments, and student debt relief.

Congressional Scrutiny of Cyberattack Continues

The UnitedHealth Change Healthcare cyberattack continues to drive discussions on Capitol Hill about cybersecurity. Last week, UnitedHealth CEO Andrew Witty gave testimony to key committees of jurisdiction in both the House and Senate. Witty said 34 percent of accelerated payments and no-interest, no-fee loans had gone to hospitals providing safety net care and federally qualified health centers. He also gave updates about ongoing efforts to provide loans and accelerated payments to providers, build up multifactor authentication, and notify patients if their data was compromised. Committee members expressed interest in the provider loan program, the delay in patient notifications, and actions taken to bolster system security.

Committee Activity This Week   

The House and Senate are in session Tuesday through Thursday this week, with the former also convening Monday and the latter convening Friday.

The Senate Committee on the Budget will hold a hearing May 8, at 10 am ET, titled, “Reducing Paperwork, Cutting Costs: Alleviating Administrative Burdens in Health Care.”

The House Committee on Ways and Means will hold a markup May 8, at 10:30 am ET, to consider several health policy proposals, including the association-endorsed Preserving Emergency Access in Key Sites (PEAKS) Act.

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