President Trump Nov. 21 signed the Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2020, and Health Extenders Act of 2019 (H.R. 3055), a continuing resolution (CR) that temporarily extends the fiscal year (FY) 2019 funding levels for discretionary spending, delays scheduled cuts to Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments, and continues mandatory appropriations for certain health programs through Dec. 20.
The House Nov. 19 passed the CR mostly along party lines, 231-92, and the Senate Nov. 21 passed the bill by a vote of 74-20. The legislation averts a government shutdown as none of the FY 2020 spending bills have been signed into law. The legislation is the second CR since the fiscal year began Oct. 1 [see Washington Highlights, Sept. 27].
With the passage of this second CR, appropriation leaders are working on the top line funding levels for each of the 12 spending bills [see Washington Highlights, Oct. 25] with the hopes of completing the FY 2020 appropriations process by Dec. 20.
In a Nov. 21 statement, AAMC Chief Public Policy Officer Karen Fisher, JD, noted, “Further delays in finalizing FY 2020 funding levels or reverting to a long-term stopgap that freezes funding at FY 2019 levels would slow progress toward cures and impede our ability to address major public health challenges.”
Under current law, safety net hospitals will face $4 billion in Medicaid DSH cuts in FY 2020. The cuts are scheduled to double to $8 billion per year in FYs 2021-2025. The House Energy and Commerce Committee July 17 advanced legislation to rescind the cuts for FYs 2020 and 2021 and reduce the cuts in half for FY 2022 [see Washington Highlights, July 19].
The CR also extends several expiring health provisions. The package provides funding at prorated current levels for community health centers, teaching health centers, and the National Health Service Corps, and it extends the authorization for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute through Dec. 20 [see related story] . These temporary extensions are in place while Congress negotiates a separate package including other health provisions.