Appropriations Process Moves Forward
Over the weekend, negotiators in Congress agreed to certain spending allocations in order to fund various government agencies through most of the year. With both bodies in session this week and deals being made, the appropriations process is moving forward ahead of the March 1 deadline.
This is good news for a potential healthcare package, because it means there may be something to which it can be attached. There is not much overt action on what would be included in this package, but there is some behind-the-scenes movement, which is promising. There is only one healthcare-related hearing on healthcare spending scheduled this week in the House, which will give Energy & Commerce Health subcommittee members an opportunity to voice their priorities and concerns. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions executive session on prescription drug costs that was previously scheduled for this week has been cancelled because the pharmaceutical executives agreed to testify at a future hearing without the need for subpoenas.
While Congress inches forward on healthcare, the Administration continues to make progress on several fronts. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) received the Ensuring Access to Medicaid Services Final Rule today, which means that decisions have been made at the department level around several provisions, including the controversial home- and community-based services payment and transparency proposals. As a reminder, the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Managed Care Access, Finance, and Quality Final Rule was already with OMB. Both final rules are expected to be released in April.
Additionally, the Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records Final Rule, commonly referred to as 42 CFR Part 2, has cleared OMB review, so it is expected to be released soon.
The Administration is also making progress regarding artificial intelligence. A US Department of Health and Human Services task force has been established to develop regulations on oversight of the technology and improving equity and nondiscrimination practices by April.
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Now that congressional negotiators have reportedly reached a deal on the totals for a dozen spending bills, Debbie Curtis and Rodney Whitlock join Priya Rathakrishnan to discuss next steps on appropriations and what congressional action to expect as we approach the next government funding deadline.