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On the Hill: Bipartisan Bill to Stop Medicaid DSH Cuts

Following advocacy by America’s Essential Hospitals to avert looming cuts to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) funding, four House members introduced bipartisan legislation last week that would eliminate $16 billion in DSH cuts over two years.

On April 18, four members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce — Reps. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), and Michael Burgess (R-Texas) — introduced the Supporting Safety Net Hospitals Act (H.R. 2665), which would eliminate DSH cuts in fiscal years 2024 and 2025. The cuts represent two-thirds of all federal Medicaid DSH funding.

America’s Essential Hospitals has warned the cuts would devastate essential hospitals and the communities they serve and has made stopping the cuts a top advocacy priority. In a statement, the association praised the bill and urged all House members “to safeguard health care access and lifesaving community services for all people by supporting this important legislation.”

Other Hill Activity

The ongoing debt ceiling limit negotiations are taking House floor time and dominating headlines this week. The House is expected to vote soon on the Republicans’ Limit, Save Grow Act, which would raise the debt limit into 2024 but make aggressive cuts to federal spending, including by imposing new work requirements for Medicaid eligibility.

Last week, the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing, “Examining Existing Federal Programs to Build a Stronger Health Workforce and Improve Primary Care.” It featured testimony by Carole Johnson, administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and focused on proposals to reauthorize the Community Health Care Fund, the National Health Service Corps, the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program, the Special Program for Diabetes, and the Special Program for Diabetes for Indians. The hearing also examined legislation to bolster the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

On the Schedule This Week

On April 26, at 10 am ET, the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing, “Lowering Unaffordable Costs: Legislative Solutions to Increase Transparency and Competition in Health Care.” The hearing will examine multiple bills and discussion drafts, including the Supporting Safety Net Hospitals Act and legislation regarding site-neutral payment policies and the 340B Drug Pricing Program. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure will testify, as well as these witnesses from organizations representing hospitals, pharmacy benefit managers, and other health care stakeholders.

Also at 10 am ET, April 26, the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education will hold a hearing, “Provider Relief Fund and Healthcare Workforce Shortages.” Johnson, the HRSA administrator, also will testify at this hearing. At 2 pm ET that same day, the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight will meet for a hearing, “Hearing on Tax-Exempt Hospitals and the Community Benefit Standard.” Witnesses for that hearing have not been announced.

Join the Federal Action Network Today!

Stay connected to the latest from Washington. Join our Federal Action Network (FAN) — free for members — and gain exclusive access to advocacy expertise and updates. Don’t forget to register for our FAN-exclusive webinar, “Health Reporters Panel: Key Storylines in the 118th Congress,” on May 2, from 1 to 2 pm ET. Also, save the date, June 15, 6 pm CT, for the FAN networking event at VITAL 2023, Blues on the Roof.

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About the Author

Julia Grady is a legislative affairs associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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