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On the Hill: Congress Introduces Short-Term Funding Measure

With the Feb. 18 government funding expiration date looming, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) this week introduced a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to maintain government funding through March 11. The measure would give lawmakers more time to agree on a final funding bill; negotiators have yet to agree on key outstanding issues, including topline spending numbers.

The CR also would extend the enhanced federal medical assistance percentage for certain U.S. territories, offset by a reduction in the Medicare Improvement Fund.

The measure is expected to clear both chambers; the House will vote this week.

Democrats Pause Work after Senator’s Stroke

Formal activity on the Build Back Better Act and other Democratic priorities will pause as Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.) recovers from a stroke. He recently underwent surgery at association member UNM Hospitals, in Albuquerque, N.M., and will not return to Washington for several weeks as he recuperates. Lujan is expected to make a full recovery.

Association Responds to Pandemic Preparedness Draft Language

America’s Essential Hospitals last week submitted a response to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions’ (HELP) request for feedback on the draft Prepare for and Respond to Existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats, and Pandemics Act. In its response, the association urged lawmakers to:

  • include $50 billion over five years for hospital construction and modernization, citing the importance of facility refurbishments to ensure a robust health care delivery response during public health crises or natural disasters;
  • build on the draft’s strong focus on tackling social determinants of health for marginalized populations and further target social determinant initiatives to essential hospitals;
  • expand, strengthen, and diversify the health care workforce;
  • support robust data collection on patient demographics and social determinants of health; and
  • maintain access to critical services during public health emergencies by capturing the perspective of essential hospitals in critical programs and pilots related to mental health and trauma care.

Congressional Schedule

The Senate Committee on Finance will hold the first of a series of hearings on protecting youth mental health. Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA, surgeon general of the Department of Health and Human Services, is the only witness.

The HELP Committee’s Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety will hold a Feb. 10 hearing on the health care workforce shortage.

Spring Policy Assembly

America’s Essential Hospitals invites you to join us online March 15–16 for our Spring Policy Assembly. Participants will gain insights on the outlook for essential hospital advocacy priorities and the legislative and political landscape on Capitol Hill. Register today!

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About the Author

Christina Fagnano is the legislative affairs associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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