Healthcare Preview for the Week of: February 26, 2024 - McDermott+Consulting

Healthcare Preview for the Week of: February 26, 2024

It’s Shutdown Week . . . Again

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. Congress returns to session this week, with precious little time to avert a looming partial government shutdown at midnight on Friday. After indications throughout the weekend that an agreement was imminent on the first tranche of FY 2024 spending bills tied to the upcoming March 1 deadline (Agriculture-FDA, Military Construction-VA, Energy-Water, Transportation-HUD), talks broke down late Sunday over ongoing policy rider disputes.

With the two parties blaming each other and the president set to host the “big four” – House Speaker Johnson (R-LA), House Democratic Leader Jeffries (D-NY), Senate Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Republican Leader McConnell (R-KY) – at the White House tomorrow, we await news on a potential agreement.

Notably, we await news on appropriations because a small healthcare package likely will move with the first set of FY 2024 spending bills. While we have yet to see paper on the exact provisions, there are indications that the scope will be limited. Likely inclusions are the healthcare extenders that have been riding with the previous stopgap spending bills, such as extensions of funding for community health centers, special diabetes programs and preventing cuts to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital funding. A limited number of new provisions also are possible, such as reauthorization of the SUPPORT Act, pandemic preparedness and partial alleviation of the current Medicare physician pay cut. Larger health policy provisions, such as those related to transparency, site neutral payments and pharmacy benefit manager reforms, seem more likely to move at the end of the year, when Congress will need to address telehealth extensions and other year-end priorities.

More clarity is expected in the coming days (and hours), and an additional continuing resolution similar to the last several short-term funding extensions – potentially through March 22 – is possible. It’s a consequential week, and we wait and watch, again.

Be sure to check out our Congressional Retirement Tracker and our Election 2024 Resource Center.

Today’s Podcast

Rodney Whitlock and Debbie Curtis join Julia Grabo to discuss the state of play on the Hill leading up to the March 2 government funding deadline.