Congress must act to continue funding for the federal government and avoid a shutdown before the end of the federal fiscal year on Sept. 30. However, given the limited progress in drafting appropriations legislation and resistance to passing a continuing resolution by some members of Congress, the likelihood of a federal government shutdown is growing. It is anticipated that when a continuing resolution is passed, it will be short-term.
Like prior federal government shutdowns, Medicare and Medicaid payments to providers and Social Security checks to beneficiaries, among other essential services will continue. However, it is likely the shutdown could delay approval of the new Medi-Cal Hospital Fee Program.
Additionally, with congressional attention focused on keeping the government open (or reopening it), the passage of several legislative items that are important to hospitals could also be delayed. These include:
- Medicaid DSH Cuts Delay: While a delay has broad congressional support, approximately $8 billion nationally in Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) cuts required by the Affordable Care Act are scheduled to take effect on Oct. 1.
- FEMA Public Assistance Funding: In early September, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued guidance that until additional disaster relief funds were appropriated, there would be no new obligations of public assistance that are not essential for lifesaving and life-sustaining activities. The White House has requested $16 billion in additional disaster relief funding.
- Community Health Center Funding: Expires on Oct. 1. While the committees of jurisdiction are working on legislation, there are disagreements over funding levels and offsets.
- Pandemic All-Hazards Preparedness Act: PAHPA also expires on Oct. 1.
During the budget discussions, CHA will continue to educate the California delegation about our key priorities which include delaying the harmful Medicaid DSH cuts, reauthorizing FEMA funding, and preventing the further expansion of site-neutral payments. CHA will continue to provide updates on the federal budget negotiations via CHA News and issue federal alerts as needed.