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On the Hill: Biden Budget; Hospitals Urge Congress to Stop DSH Cuts

On March 9, President Joe Biden released his $6.8 trillion 2024 fiscal budget, which included measures to extend Medicare solvency by 25 years by raising taxes on wealthy Americans and closing tax loopholes while preserving program benefits, the administration said.

With the proposals, Biden sought to distinguish himself as a champion for and defender of Medicare. For more details of note for essential hospitals, see this summary of the Department of Health and Human Services proposed budget. Given Republican control of the House, Biden’s budget largely is symbolic and has little chance of becoming law.

Also last week, America’s Essential Hospitals and other hospital associations urged Congress to stop looming Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) cuts. Current law will cut Medicaid DSH funding by $8 billion — two-thirds of all DSH funding — Oct. 1, unless Congress acts, and by $32 billion over the next four federal fiscal years.

Other Hill Activity

Lawmakers are increasing investigations of COVID-19’s origins. On Wednesday of last week, the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic held the panel’s first hearing of the 118th Congress. Titled, “Investigating the Origins of COVID-19,” it featured the testimony of the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield; former National Security Council official, Jamie Metzl; and The New York Times’ former science writer and editor, Nicholas Wade, among others. The general narrative indicated a need for further investigations and clarification on the virus’ origins.

On the Schedule this Week

On Thursday, March 16, at 10 am ET, the Senate Committee on Finance will hold a hearing titled, “The President’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget with Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen.” This will be the second consecutive week Yellen has appeared on the Hill; she also testified last week at the House Committee on Ways and Means’ hearing, “President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Request.”

The House is out this week; the Senate will convene beginning today.

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