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On the Hill: Lawmakers Avert Shutdown, Return Home to Campaign

Legislation President Joe Biden signed Sept. 30 to fund the government through Dec. 16 also includes provisions to continue several health programs through the same date and to extend U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) user fees for five years.

Biden signed the continuing resolution (CR) after the House passed the bill by a 230-201 margin Sept. 30. The Senate passed the CR the day before with a 72-25 vote.

Beyond extending government funding at current rates and FDA user fees for five years, the CR also extends through Dec. 16 the Medicare-Dependent Hospital; the low-volume hospital adjustment; and the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting programs, as well as the enhanced federal medical assistance percentage for U.S. territories.

There are no consequential votes scheduled between now and the Nov. 8 midterm elections. Congress’ next expected working period is in the post-election session. Outstanding items in the health care space that could see congressional action this year include expanding access to mental health services, averting looming Medicare and Medicaid cuts, and addressing workforce challenges and public emergency preparedness.

340B Drug Pricing Program

In a major victory for America’s Essential Hospitals, Judge Rudolph Contreras, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services must immediately reinstate full payments for 340B drugs for the remainder of 2022, rather than wait until Jan. 1, 2023.

On the Hill, on Sept. 28, Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra asking that HHS and its Office of the Inspector General act immediately to stop several of the largest U.S. drug companies and other stakeholders from illegally withholding 340B discounts on drugs dispensed by 340B contract pharmacies and to fully enforce the law.

This Week in Congress

The House remains in a district work period through the Yom Kippur, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and Veteran’s Day holidays and is schedule to return Monday, Nov. 14. The Senate also is in recess and is schedule to return to session in mid-October.

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About the Author

Margaret French is the manager of legislative affairs at America's Essential Hospitals.

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