CHA News

U.S. House Advances COVID-19 Bill

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On Feb. 27, the House of Representatives passed a modified version of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319), a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that focuses on vaccines, testing, and public health, while also providing assistance to individuals and families, among other provisions. The Senate will consider the bill this week and is expected to further modify the legislation. 

Key health care provisions include: 

  • $20 billion to establish a national COVID-19 vaccination program and improve administration and distribution of vaccines 
  • $47 billion for testing, contact tracing, and mitigation activities, as well as the manufacturing, procurement, distribution, and administration of tests 
  • Expanded and increased subsidies for individuals and families accessing health plan coverage on the ACA Marketplaces 
  • $9.1 billion to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including $7.6 billion for establishing, expanding, and sustaining the public health workforce   
  • $500 million to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish a pilot program to award grants to eligible entities, including certain rural hospitals  
  • $7.25 billion in new Paycheck Protection Program funding and clarification that the affiliation rules do not apply to 501(c)3 organizations that employ 500 or fewer employees per physical location of the organization 
  • $3.5 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency, to be split between the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment and the Community Mental Health block grant programs

The package also includes $350 billion in direct funding to state and local governments. The state of California is expected to receive $26.2 billion and an additional $14.9 billion for local governments, for a total of $41.2 billion. 

Although the House bill does not include direct support for hospitals, CHA is working closely with the American Hospital Association (AHA) to urge the Senate to include $35 billion in new relief funding for providers and an extension of the Medicare sequestration delay. AHA members may access a special bulletin