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On the Hill: Association Responds to Health Care Access RFI

America’s Essential Hospitals this week responded on behalf of its members to a request for information on health care access for underserved areas issued last month by Committee on Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.).

In its written response, the association urged lawmakers to ensure adequate funding for Medicare disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments; a federal designation for essential hospitals; investments in the health care workforce; protection for the 340B Drug Pricing Program; expanded emergency preparedness; and appropriations for programs to promote mental health, among other essential hospital priorities. The association also pushed back on site-neutral payment policies, outlining how they would negatively affect essential hospitals.

Movement on Replacing House Speaker

On Wednesday, House Republicans nominated Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) to replace Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as House Speaker, following McCarthy’s removal last week. Several candidates have thrown their hats in the ring, including Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and, again, McCarthy. Scalise now must garner 217 votes on the House floor to secure the speaker’s gavel.

Due to the absence of a speaker, full house consideration of legislation has ground to a halt. However, committee work continues. The biggest near-term challenge facing the new speaker will be passing appropriations before Nov. 17, when a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government expires. That CR also delayed the scheduled $8 billion cut to Medicaid DSH funding, and America’s Essential Hospitals is working to ensure Congress averts the cut regardless of action on appropriations.

Committee Activity This Week 

The Senate is on recess this week. The House will convene through Friday in an attempt to coalesce around a new speaker.

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About the Author

Julia Grady is a senior legislative affairs associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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