October 19, 2021
D.C. News
  • Senate democrats released nine remaining appropriations bills Monday in an effort to jump start bipartisan talks. Of note, the Labor-HHS-Education bill increases investments in public health preparedness and health equity; removes the so-called Hyde amendment, which affects Medicaid and other health care programs; includes more than $3 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant, an increase of $1.15 billion over fiscal year 2021, including a new set-aside for recovery services; and allocates $2 billion, an increase of $500 million, for State Opioid Response (SOR) Grants. (Bill Summary here; Articles here and here)
  • A bipartisan group of 13 senators warned the Biden administration against making any cuts to Medicare Advantage (MA). In a letter to CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the senators stated, “We stand ready to protect MA from payments cuts, which could lead to higher costs and premiums, reduce vital benefits and undermine advances made to improve health outcomes and health equity for MA enrollees.” The letter comes amid growing scrutiny over higher spending for MA and efforts to trim the cost of the reconciliation package. (Article here)