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On the Hill: Funding for Health Care Extenders, Hospital Preparedness

A key House committee this week reviews legislation to extend funding for several expiring health care programs and protect funding for Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health in a June 4 hearing examines a series of bills to extend funding for key health care programs set to expire on Sept. 30.

Among the bills the subcommittee is set to discuss is the Patient Access Protection Act (H.R. 3022), legislation from Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) to permanently repeal scheduled cuts to Medicaid DSH funding mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

Unless Congress acts, a $4 billion cut to Medicaid DSH funding will take effect Oct. 1, 2019, the start of fiscal year 2020, and an $8 billion cut will occur in FY 2021.

The hearing includes testimony from an essential hospital leader, Michael Waldrum, MD, MSC, MBA, CEO of Vidant Health, in Greenville, North Carolina. Waldrum will outline the importance of DSH funding for essential hospitals.

House Vote on PAHPA

Meanwhile, the House is expected to vote on legislation to reauthorize and provide new funding for pandemic and disaster preparedness and emergency response programs. The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovations Act (PAHPA) of 2019 (S. 1379) would provide $385 million in annual funding for the Hospital Preparedness Program through fiscal year (FY) 2023, among other provisions.

The House is expected to pass the bill, sending it to the president for approval.

Upcoming Hearings

The House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs held a June 4 hearing on modernizing health records for service members and veterans from the contractor perspective.

Additionally. the Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights will hold a June 12 hearing on the competitive implications of vertical consolidation in the health care industry.


About the Author

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

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