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On the Hill: Congress Resumes Health Care Funding Efforts

Lawmakers this week return to discussions on how to provide long-term funding for several health care programs and advance legislation aimed at high health care costs.

Before the holiday break, the president signed a year-end spending package that delayed by an additional five months the $4 billion cut to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments. In addition, the $1.4 trillion package extended until May 22 funding for several health care programs, including community health centers.

Congressional leaders are expected to leverage the new May 22 expiration date to help advance legislation to lower prescription drug prices and protect patients from receiving surprise medical bills. Last month, House and Senate committees released updated versions of bipartisan drug pricing and surprise billing legislation that remain under consideration.

Impeachment Trial

Meanwhile, the House in December approved two articles of impeachment against President Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has not formally transmitted the articles of impeachment to the Senate, where Senate leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) continue to negotiate the terms and procedures that will guide the trial.

The timeline for the Senate trial remains uncertain.

Subcommittee Hearing on Health Care

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a Jan. 8 hearing on several pieces of health care legislation related to coverage and access issues. One of the bills, the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act of 2019 (H.R. 2477), would simplify the Medicare enrollment process for prospective enrollees.


About the Author

Erin Delaney is a former legislative affairs associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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