Today the House of Representatives passed the modified American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, ratifying the version passed by the Senate over the weekend. The bill is now headed to the president and is expected to be signed on Friday. Throughout negotiations, WSHA has been in active communication with our delegation and we applaud the investments made within this bill. These include funds to strengthen our public health response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, as well as significant provisions aimed at expanding Medicaid coverage and benefits and improving affordability for plans purchased on the exchange. A full analysis of the health care related provisions in the bill is here. Highlights include:
• More than $70 billion for COVID-19 vaccine, testing and workforce efforts.
• $350 billion in relief for state and local governments for COVID-19 response and lost revenues, including $4.3 billion to Washington state. This funding is expected to provide more flexibility for the upcoming state budget.
• $8.5 billion to reimburse rural health care providers for health care-related expenses and lost revenues attributable to COVID–19.
• Expanded subsidies for plans purchased on the exchange.
However, we are disappointed that the bill does not include other provisions advocated by WSHA and the American Hospital Association. These include additional funding for the Provider Relief Fund, forgiveness of advance Medicare payments, and extension of the moratorium on the 2 percent Medicare sequester payment reduction.