Last week the President signed into law a budget deal that funds the government through fiscal year 2016 and included a $3 billion funding increase for the National Institutes of Health, $300 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, $2.1 million for rural telehealth, and $30 million for the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education.

Congress also passed a bill allowing for blanket hardship exemptions from the 2015 meaningful use penalties for all providers. Doctors have until March 15 and hospitals until April 1 to apply for the exemption.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced that the House will take up the Senate-passed reconciliation bill in early January. The bill includes the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and stops federal dollars from going to Planned Parenthood.