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On the Hill: Planning Fourth COVID-19 Package, Support for 340B Hospitals

The House and Senate are out of session for two weeks as lawmakers contemplate what to include in the next COVID-19 relief package.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicated the Senate might start work on phase-four COVID-19 legislation when senators return to Washington in mid-July. The exact timing and scope of this legislation is unclear at this time. If an agreement comes together, it is expected to differ from the recent House-passed Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, meaning bipartisan negotiations are likely to occur.

Additionally, the president last week signed legislation to extend the application period for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through Aug. 8.

During the congressional recess, the association continues to advocate for issues important to essential hospitals on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bipartisan Legislation to Provide Certainty for 340B Hospitals

Meanwhile, a group of bipartisan senators last week introduced legislation to ensure hospitals participating in the 340B Drug Pricing Program can maintain program eligibility while responding to COVID-19, regardless of changes to their payer mixes.

The legislation was introduced by Sens. John Thune (R-SD), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Ben Cardin (D-MD).

America’s Essential Hospitals appreciates the leadership and work of these senators to provide certainty to hospitals relying on the 340B program during this public health emergency.

FY 2021 Spending Legislation

As the chambers close session, the Senate moves into a state work period and the House convenes a committee work period, allowing some legislative work to continue.

The House this week is scheduled to hold subcommittee markups of several fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills.

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About the Author

Nikki Hurt is a manager of legislative affairs at America's Essential Hospitals.

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