ElevatingHOME Details End of Year Congressional Actions
There are approximately fifteen working days Congress has left in 2017. Much of its remaining work includes ElevatingHOME priorities, such as the rural add-ons and additional legislative concerns, such as pay-fors that impact home-based care. Such year-end work includes:
Funding will expire on December 8 if Congress fails to pass a budget or Continuing Resolution (CR/temporary extension). The larger budget legislation includes:
- Medicare Extenders: Includes the rural add-on provision for home health care. The Senate Finance Committee released a version that would stratify payment over rural areas and phase-out the program. There is ongoing discussion with the House Ways and Means Committee that would introduce a flat percentage for rural providers.
- Children’s Health Insurance Program: Lawmakers are also under pressure to reauthorize funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which expired at the end of the September. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) has predicted that funding could end up in the December spending bill.
The House recently passed its tax reform plan (H.R. 1), but it is uncertain whether it can muster the necessary votes in the Senate. Further, the two bills will have to be reconciled, as the current Senate version differs from the passed House version.
Health Care Reform
Tied to the Senate Republican tax plan is the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual mandate, which requires most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. But Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a key vote on the tax plan, is warning that linking the mandate repeal and the tax fight is a mistake that could make it harder to get a bill through Congress. As part of a compromise, Senate GOP leaders have signaled they are prepared to pass legislation from Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) that would provide two years of funding for ACA’s cost-sharing reduction payments. Democrats, however, are warning that they won’t help pass that bill, which would need 60 votes, if Republicans link it to the tax plan.
Click here to register for the Public Policy Town Hall on December 4 at 2:00 p.m. ET. Participants will receive an update on the status of these Congressional actions and learn what it means for home-based care.