On March 9, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package funding the federal government through Sept. 30 — the end of the current fiscal year — but the nearly $15 billion allocated for COVID-19 relief was pulled from the package at the last minute after several lawmakers expressed concerns about spending offsets that would have clawed back their states’ unused COVID-19 money to fund the proposal.
Democratic leaders plan to set up a standalone vote next week on a COVID-19 funding package. CHA is disappointed that the slimmed down COVID-19 relief funding does not include any additional relief for hospitals, instead focusing on vaccines, treatments, and research.
The omnibus package does include some health care provisions helpful to providers. This includes protecting certain 340B hospitals that lost their 340B eligibility due to a drop in their disproportionate share hospitals adjustment percentage, extending telehealth flexibilities for 151 days after the end of the public health emergency, and advancing maternal health — including $24 million for improvements to maternal health care — and $8 million in rural maternal and obstetric modernization services.
The House is expected to vote on the COVID-19 package next week. However, the outlook in the Senate is bleak.