Congress cabinets covid funding for now

Congress is transferring towards completion of its annual spending payments for the fiscal 12 months that began final October, however a last-minute snag jettisoned from the invoice the Biden administration’s requested funding for covid prevention and remedy.

In the meantime, a federal court docket has dominated that the administration overstepped within the dispute-resolution portion of its measure to bar “shock” medical payments, after docs and hospitals charged that the method would favor well being insurers in billing disagreements.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Faculty of Public Well being and Politico, Rachel Cohrs of Stat, and Jessie Hellmann of Trendy Healthcare.

Among the many takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • When the last-minute dispute arose over covid funding within the federal spending invoice for 2022, Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi pulled that part of the invoice. The Home then handed the general spending measure and despatched it to the Senate. Pelosi mentioned Congress will have a look at that spending individually later.
  • The dispute grew out of Republican complaints that they do not need to help new covid funding sought by the Biden administration till they’ve a full accounting of how a lot of previous appropriations have been spent. So congressional leaders brokered a compromise to claw again about $7 billion from states in unspent covid funding to cowl about half of the brand new initiative. However state governors — together with Republicans — and a few Democratic lawmakers balked on the deal.
  • Administration officers say they’ve used all of the covid funds already appropriated and wish more cash to be prepared for any future issues from the coronavirus. Their plan comprises provisions to purchase extra medication and vaccines to be given to the general public and efforts to organize for brand spanking new covid variants.
  • Regardless of the dust-up over covid funding, the federal spending invoice consists of boosts in funding for the Nationwide Institutes of Well being and the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. And it provides the FDA authority to control “artificial” nicotine, a key ingredient in some vaping merchandise.
  • Republicans scored a political win within the invoice, nevertheless, by insisting that it proceed to incorporate the so-called Hyde Modification, which prohibits federal funds from getting used for abortion providers. Democrats had promised to delete that ban however couldn’t muster sufficient votes to make it occur.
  • The administration’s plan to arrange “check and deal with” protocols, during which individuals who check optimistic for covid may instantly be prescribed antiviral medicine at drugstores, ran head-on into sturdy opposition from the American Medical Affiliation, which says solely docs ought to be capable to prescribe medication. The administration says searching for a health care provider’s appointment or prescription typically takes too lengthy for sufferers for the reason that medicine, to work correctly, should be began very early in the middle of an an infection.
  • A federal choose in Texas final week struck down guidelines specifying how insurers, hospitals, and docs resolve billing variations when a affected person has acquired a shock medical invoice. A brand new legislation protects sufferers from these payments, which can outcome after they obtain emergency care at a facility they didn’t select or when they’re at a hospital that’s of their insurance coverage community however are handled unexpectedly by a health care provider who doesn’t contract with their insurer.
  • The choose, who dominated in favor of docs within the go well with, mentioned the plan’s guidelines don’t comply with the legislation handed by Congress. Beneath the Biden administration plan, the well being care supplier and the insurer every current their greatest provide on the billing dispute to an arbitrator, who can contemplate many components however ought to give best consideration to the quantity closest to the median in-network price for the service in query. Medical doctors and hospitals say that’s unfair to them, however the administration has argued that normal may also help preserve prices from escalating.
  • State legislators are busy anticipating a potential resolution by the Supreme Court docket that might weaken or overturn Roe v. Wade, which assured entry to abortion nationwide. In Missouri, a lawmaker has proposed that the state discover a option to penalize residents who journey out of state for an abortion. And a few states are on the lookout for methods to restrict entry to abortion medicines ordered on-line and delivered by means of the mail.

Plus, for additional credit score, the panelists suggest their favourite well being coverage tales of the week they suppose it’s best to learn, too:

Julie Rovner: The Atlantic’s “How Did This Many Deaths Grow to be Regular?” by Ed Yong

Joanne Kenen: Politico’s “‘I Nearly Misplaced My Child’: Mother and father Demand Solutions From FDA,” by Helena Bottemiller Evich

Rachel Cohrs: Vox.com’s “Maternity Wards Are Shuttering Throughout the US Through the Pandemic,” by Dylan Scott

Jessie Hellmann: NPR’s “Delaware Is Shrinking Racial Gaps in Most cancers Demise. Its Secret? Affected person Navigators,” by Yuki Noguchi

Additionally mentioned on this week’s podcast:

The New York Instances’ “The Loophole That is Fueling a Return to Teenage Vaping,” by Christina Jewitt

CNN’s “Well being Consultants Warn Florida’s Plan to Suggest In opposition to Covid-19 Vaccine for Wholesome Youngsters Is Irresponsible,” by Travis Caldwell

Stat’s “A Evident Hole in Congress’ Shock Billing Regulation Leaves Sufferers on the Hook for Dear, Out-of-Community Lab Exams,” by Bob Herman




Kaiser Health NewsThis text was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Household Basis. Kaiser Well being Information, an editorially unbiased information service, is a program of the Kaiser Household Basis, a nonpartisan well being care coverage analysis group unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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