House Unveils Massive Spending Package, Votes Expected This Week

Lindsey CopelandMedicare Watch0 Comments

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Last night, lawmakers unveiled draft legislation to fund the federal government for the remaining six months of fiscal year 2018 (FY18). Congress is expected to finalize the package this week in order to prevent a government shutdown when current federal funding expires at midnight Friday.

The spending package, known as an omnibus, addresses several of Medicare Rights top priorities:

  • Increases investments in the Medicare State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and other non-defense discretionary programs serving older adults and people with disabilities.
  • Maintains important progress recently made to reduce prescription drug costs for people with Medicare.
  • Safeguards the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections and rejects proposals that would destabilize the health care system.

The bill leaves out other key policy changes that Medicare Rights strongly supports:

  • The Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act (S. 1909; H.R. 2575), which includes long overdue Part B reforms.
  •  The Ensuring Medicaid Provides Opportunities for Widespread Equity, Resources and (EMPOWER) Care Act (S. 2227; H.R. 5306), which extends the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program.

The House passed the bill earlier today. The Senate will consider amendments and vote in the coming days.

Read the House omnibus.

For funding levels for individual programs within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, read the Labor-HHS appropriations bill (Section H of the House omnibus). Download all agency-specific funding bills here.

Read more about the Medicare Rights Center’s priorities for the omnibus here and here.

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