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Senate Passes $550 Billion Infrastructure Bill

A $3.5 trillion reconciliation package discussed alongside infrastructure bill

August 10, 2021

An infographic providing a breakdown of $550 billion federal infrastructure funding

The U.S. Senate today passed an infrastructure plan that invests $550 billion into America’s transportation, broadband, and utility systems, while beginning deliberations on a $3.5 trillion budget proposal with several important health care priorities.

The infrastructure plan was approved by a 69–30 vote. Passage by the Senate comes after months of negotiations between a bipartisan working group of 22 Senators and the White House. The bill still faces numerous steps in the legislative process to be enacted into law.

Importantly, the package does not use hospital Provider Relief Fund (PRF) dollars to offset the new investments in high-speed internet, roads, bridges, rail, transit, water, and other physical infrastructure programs. The American Hospital Association spearheaded advocacy efforts to protect the hospital PRF funding during the negotiation process.

After passing the infrastructure plan, Senate lawmakers immediately turned their attention to a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package that addresses so-called “soft infrastructure” priorities, such as education, health care, and tax policies. House Democratic leaders have said they would await the approval of the reconciliation package before taking up the infrastructure bill.

This week, U.S. Senate Democrats unveiled their budget resolution for the package. The following health care provisions are expected to be discussed:

  • Expansion of Affordable Care Act subsidies
  • The Medicaid coverage gap in states that opted against expansion
  • Expanding Medicare to include dental, vision, hearing benefits, and lowering the eligibility age
  • Addressing health care provider shortages through Graduate Medical Education investments
  • Long-term care for seniors and people with disabilities
  • Workforce incentives
  • Prescription drug costs
  • Health equity

The deliberations on the $3.5-trilion reconciliation are expected to continue into the fall, as lawmakers negotiate how to offset spending in the plan. HAP will continue to monitor the policy discussions in Congress and advocate for key hospital priorities.

For more information, contact Laura Stevens Kent, HAP’s senior vice president, strategic integration.

 




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