Speaker Race Impacts Healthcare Priorities
We start this week as we did the last, with no speaker of the House. The House is scheduled to vote on Tuesday for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) to be the speaker of the House. However, it is still unclear if he can obtain the 217 votes needed to win. As that battle continues, the clock ticks closer to the pending deadline to fund the government. The government runs out of funding on November 17, and funding for some key healthcare programs, such as the community health centers, also expires. Additionally, several healthcare items that expired on September 30, such as the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program, don’t yet have a path forward. The longer the speaker race drags out, the longer expired programs are without funding, and the less time there is for Congress to develop an end-of-the-year legislative package that includes otherwise expiring health programs and other healthcare priorities that have gained bipartisan support throughout the year.
All this being said, the House and Senate are actively working on healthcare-related items at the committee level this week. Of particular note is the Energy and Commerce legislative hearing on Medicare proposals on Thursday. This hearing will review 23 pieces of legislation aiming to improve Medicare payment to best serve seniors and strengthen the program. Additional hearings this week will focus on Medicare Advantage marketing practices, artificial intelligence and data use and investigating pandemic fraud.