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What’s next for key hospital priorities in Congress?

Congress Close to Deal to Avert Shutdown

February 29, 2024

Federal lawmakers are extending their deadline to reach a deal to fund the federal government, while working on a potential spending bill with important hospital priorities.

Today, Congress is expected to approve a short-term continuing resolution that extends their funding deadlines from March 1 and March 8 to March 8 and March 22.

“We are in agreement that Congress must work in a bipartisan manner to fund our government,” House and Seante leaders said in a statement this week.

Latest on ‘Narrower’ Health Package

As they consider the larger spending bill, Congress is negotiating a health care package with important hospital priorities. Initial reports indicate that the deal could potentially be narrower in scope than initially anticipated—without site-neutral payment policies for drugs administered in hospital outpatient departments; reforms for pharmacy benefit managers; or other price transparency initiatives.

Importantly, the bill is likely to include a temporary delay in cuts to the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program, as well as support for the low-volume hospital payment adjustment and the Medicare dependent hospital program. It also would partially address potential cuts for Medicare physician payments that have drawn scrutiny from the physician community.

The content of the package is expected to be released next week. HAP will continue to monitor the latest developments in Washington and provide updates to members.

As lawmakers continue negotiations, HAP urges members to contact Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and John Fetterman (D-PA) with your support for the DSH program and opposition to the inclusion of site-neutral payment policies. For additional information, contact John Myers, vice president, federal advocacy.