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On the Hill: House Advances Medicaid Extenders

The House last week passed the Medicaid Services Investment and Accountability Act of 2019 (H.R. 1839), which would extend funding for several Medicaid programs.

The bill would give states the option to establish Medicaid health homes to coordinate care for children with complex medical conditions. Its legislative language is identical to the Advancing Care for Exceptional (ACE) Kids Act, which America’s Essential Hospitals supports.

The legislation also would:

  • provide $20 million in additional funding for the “Money Follows the Person” demonstration program, which helps Medicaid beneficiaries with disabilities and chronic conditions transition from institutionalized to community-based care settings;
  • maintain until Sept. 30 the spousal income disregard when determining Medicaid eligibility for recipients of home and community-based services; and
  • extend funding for the certified community behavioral health clinic demonstration program under Medicaid, which expands access to community-based addiction and behavioral health services.

The bill now awaits Senate consideration.

House Democrats Work to Protect ACA

The House this week will vote on a resolution, introduced by freshman Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX), condemning the Trump administration’s decision to support the Texas district court ruling that declared the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unconstitutional.

This action comes after the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health last week advanced a proposal to stabilize the ACA insurance marketplace, along with several other bills that aim to reduce health care and prescription drug costs. The bills now move to consideration in the full Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Hearings to Reduce Health Care Costs

The House Committee on Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions will hold an April 2 hearing on protecting patients from surprise medical bills. This is the first hearing related to surprise billing in the 116th Congress. Committee members will gather information on billing practices, but they will not discuss specific legislative proposals.

Meanwhile, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold an April 2 hearing on the impact of the high cost of insulin on diabetes patients.  Energy and Commerce Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) announced this will be the first of two hearings this month to examine the rising costs of insulin.

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About the Author

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

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