Senate Stopgap Funding Measure Protects Hospitals, Health Programs
The stopgap funding measure the Senate is advancing includes provisions that would temporarily reauthorize hospital payments, the federally qualified health centers program, the National Health Service Corps, and some other health policy initiatives until Nov. 17.
Senate Advances Bill To Temporarily Aid Hospitals, Health Centers
The legislation would fund the federal government and temporarily reauthorize disproportionate share hospital payments, the federally qualified health centers program, graduate medical education funding, the National Health Service Corps and other healthcare initiatives until Nov. 17. The fiscal year ends on Saturday and Congress has not passed any spending bills for fiscal 2024. (McAuliff, 9/26)
Senate Grabs Wheel From House In Bid To Avoid Shutdown
Senate leaders are grabbing the steering wheel from embattled Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in hopes of avoiding a wreck in the form of a government shutdown at the end of the week. Senators in both parties have lost confidence in McCarthy’s ability to move a stopgap funding measure through the House and hope to avoid a disaster by moving first. (Bolton, 9/27)
Meanwhile, the possible impact of a shutdown on health care is discussed —
KFF Health News:
What Happens To Health Programs If The Federal Government Shuts Down?
For the first time since 2019, congressional gridlock is poised to at least temporarily shut down big parts of the federal government — including many health programs. If it happens, some government functions would stop completely and some in part, while others wouldn’t be immediately affected — including Medicare, Medicaid, and health plans sold under the Affordable Care Act. But a shutdown could complicate the lives of everyone who interacts with any federal health program, as well as the people who work at the agencies administering them. (Rovner, 9/27)
The Washington Post:
How A Government Shutdown Would Affect Medicare, Medicaid Benefits
A government shutdown could wreak havoc on many federally funded programs if lawmakers cannot negotiate a spending deal by the Saturday deadline, including potential disruptions to some services provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Medicare benefits will not be affected, and Medicaid has full funding for the next three months. While the agency is partially shielded from the impending tumult, it will retain fewer than half of its employees — many unpaid — until a shutdown ends, according to the updated Health and Human Services contingency plan released Thursday. (Malhi, 9/26)
Government Shutdown Threat Risks HHS Programs, Staffing
A government shutdown could thrust healthcare providers into unpredictable and uncharted territory, even though vast portions of the federal healthcare apparatus, including Medicare and Medicaid, are immune from annual budget showdowns in Congress. According to President Joe Biden's proposed budget for fiscal 2024, which begins Sunday, 91% of Health and Human Services Department spending is categorized as mandatory, not as discretionary spending that is subject to yearly appropriations bills or periodic reauthorizations. (McAuliff, 9/26)
Would Medicare Drug Price Negotiations Stall In A Shutdown?
There are a slew of government health programs and thousands of federal staff that could see work stalled by the budget deadline Friday. But is Biden’s signature drug pricing program on the outs too? HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra warned reporters Friday that “a lot” of the work negotiation staff are doing right now — compiling information, corresponding with manufacturers — “takes people who would be impacted by a shutdown.” Except … the Inflation Reduction Act provisioned $3 billion for the negotiation program to get up and running. Unless Medicare has already hoovered up that money, despite slowing staffing up the 95-person office, it seems like the funds should still be there to keep the fledgling department open. (Owermohle, 9/26)
Government Shutdown: Which Veterans’ Benefits May, May Not Be Affected
Many of the most crucial benefits and services offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs will still be available. During a press conference Friday, Secretary Denis McDonough said Veterans Affairs is “working very diligently in preparation for a lapse in funding.” “…In the case of a shutdown, there would be no impact on Veteran healthcare; burials would continue at VA national cemeteries; VA would continue to process and deliver benefits to Veterans, including compensation, pension, education, and housing benefits; and the Board will continue to process appeals,” McDonough explained. (Bink, 9/26)