President Joe Biden on Monday released his fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request. The House Committee on the Budget will review the request March 29, and the Senate Committee on Budget will review it March 30.
The president’s budget request seeks to increase both military and domestic spending, including a substantial increase for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The administration requested more than $82 billion in mandatory funding for specific agencies related to combating COVID-19 and future pandemics and signaled support for continued investments in telehealth and behavioral health care. Of note for essential hospitals, the administration reaffirmed its commitment to health equity by supporting initiatives to reduce health disparities, including proposed investments to eliminate disparities in maternal health outcomes.
The president’s budget signals administrative priorities and requests for Congress; only lawmakers can appropriate new spending. Congress is not required to adhere to the specifications in the president’s budget request.
The House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies will hold a March 31 hearing to examine the FY 2023 budget request for HHS.
Talks Continue on COVID-19 Relief
Lawmakers continue to explore appropriating additional funds to respond to COVID-19. Reports indicate Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is negotiating with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) to develop a supplemental COVID-19 package after the FY 2022 omnibus spending bill excluded funding for COVID-19 relief and recovery. The path forward remains unclear, as a bill would require support from all Democrats and at least 10 Republicans to pass in the Senate through regular order.
Congress Addresses Low Vaccination Rates Among Medicaid Beneficiaries
On March 25, Sen. Robert Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), chair of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chair of the Senate Committee on Finance sent a letter to the comptroller general at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) regarding vaccination rates among Medicaid beneficiaries. The letter highlights low vaccination rates among Medicaid enrollees compared with the national population and asks the GAO to investigate why rates are lower and how to increase them.
Hearing on Behavioral, Mental Health
The Senate Committee on Finance will hold a March 30 hearing on behavioral and mental health, specifically regarding parity and care integration in the health care system. John Dicken, director of health care at GAO, will testify at the hearing.
2022 Midterm Elections: A Deep Dive into Key Races
Join the Federal Action Network (FAN) April 7, at 1 pm ET, for an exclusive webinar featuring POLITICO national political reporter Elena Schneider who will share what potential election outcomes could mean for American politics and essential hospitals. Register today!