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On the Hill: Time Runs Short to Reauthorize Key Health Programs

With just 14 legislative days left until the Sept. 30 deadline to fund the federal government for fiscal year 2024 and extend key health programs, congressional committees are working furiously to wrap up legislative priorities before the start of August recess.

Last week, The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) approved a bill that would reauthorize the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act, which is set to expire Sept. 30 without congressional action.

Also last week, HELP Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) unveiled a large legislative package to address health care and provider workforce shortages. It was met with opposition from Republicans, including committee Vice Chair Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who largely view it as a partisan exercise. The package also includes site-neutral payment policies; America’s Essential Hospitals has made its opposition to such policies clear in meetings with congressional offices. Sanders announced a July markup of the package will be delayed until September to better allow for bipartisan collaboration.

In the House, the Committee on Energy and Commerce last week approved several pieces of legislation endorsed by America’s Essential Hospitals, including one related to telehealth allowances; and another, the Support for Patients and Communities Reauthorization Act, related to opioid use disorder treatment.

Committee Activity This Week

Both chambers are in session Tuesday through Friday this week. The Senate HELP Committee will hold an executive session on July 27, at 10 am ET, to evaluate five bills related to workforce and apprenticeship, some with broad implications for health care.

The House Committee on Ways and Means will hold a markup to consider two health care bills, the Health Care Price Transparency Act of 2023 and the Providers and Payers COMPETE Act, on July 26, at 10 am ET.

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