Advocacy Alert

Urge Your Lawmakers to Support Essential Health System Designation

On the Hill: House Passes Bill with Medicaid DSH Cut Relief

Julia Grady
December 12, 2023

America’s Essential Hospitals last week sent congressional leaders a letter detailing its immediate priorities for the 118th Congress, including stopping Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) cuts, statutorily defining essential hospitals, and supporting workforce needs.

The House took a step Monday toward one item on the association’s list: In a 320-71 vote, the House passed the Lower Costs More Transparency (LCMT) Act (H.R. 5378), which would eliminate $16 billion of DSH cuts in fiscal years 2024 and 2025. America’s Essential Hospitals has urged Congress to retain this provision of the LCMT and reject harmful aspects of the bill, including burdensome site-neutral payment and pricing transparency policies.

Recent Hill Activity of Interest

Last week, the Senate Committee on Finance met for a hearing, “Drug Shortages: Examining Supply Challenges, Impacts, and Policy Solutions from a Federal Health Program Perspective,” which included scrutiny of the 340B Drug Pricing Program. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce marked up 44 pieces of legislation, including pharmacy benefit manager reforms and drug pricing policies; all were advanced to the full House. Also last week, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) introduced H.R. 6655, A Stronger Workforce for America Act, which aims to mitigate ongoing health care workforce shortages.

Committee Activity This Week

Both the House and the Senate are in session Monday through Thursday this week, with only the Senate convening Friday.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) will hold an executive session Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 10 am ET, to examine, among other legislation, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Reauthorization Act, which the association has endorsed. The bill would reauthorize the opioid treatment and prevention programs created under the SUPPORT Act, which expired Sept. 30. The bill’s House-side companion legislation, H.R. 4531, is scheduled for a vote this week.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a full committee hearing Dec. 13, at 10 am ET, titled, “Leveraging Agency Expertise to Foster American AI Leadership and Innovation.” Officials will discuss a sector-by-sector approach to oversee the increasing use of artificial intelligence.

The HELP Committee will hold a full committee hearing Thursday, Dec. 14, at 10 am ET, titled, “What is Fueling the Diabetes Epidemic?” The Senate Committee on Appropriations will hold a Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Hearing Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 10 am ET, titled, “Communities in Crisis: What Happens When Disaster Recovery Funds are Delayed.”

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