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Federal policymakers consider current and future spending measures on simultaneous tracks

This week, our In Focus section covers Congress’s and the Administration’s parallel efforts to finalize fiscal year (FY) 2024 spending bills and begin the budget process for FY 2025.  

Congress approved a bipartisan package for some of the FY 2024 spending bills, and on March 9, 2024, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2024 into law (PL 118-42). Programs funded through this measure include the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and other federal nutrition supports, rental assistance for safe and affordable housing, and veterans medical care and benefits.  

Several mandatory funding extensions of public health programs and health-related policies also found their way into the 2024 consolidated appropriations package, including extending the Community Health Center Fund, delaying reductions in the disproportionate share hospital allotments, defining Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers (CCBHCs) as a Medicaid service, extending incentive payments for certain Medicare providers, and mitigating the impact of cuts to the Medicare physician fee schedule.  

These policies, however, addressed a narrower set of issues than the expansive and bipartisan legislation that has been moving through both chambers of Congress. For example, House and Senate members have worked on respective bipartisan policies affecting price transparency, pharmacy benefit managers, and Medicare site-neutral policies, among others.  

Meanwhile, President Biden released the FY 2025 Budget proposal March 11, 2024, kicking off the annual budget process. Like the administration’s FY 2024 budget proposal, the FY 2025 plan emphasizes deficit reduction and continues to make equity and Medicare solvency cornerstones of the budget. Health-related priorities include expanding access to affordable healthcare services, lowering drug costs, improving maternal health, addressing the mental health and substance use disorder crises, and enhancing biodefense and preparedness activities.  

Check out the FY 2025 budget analysis from Leavitt Partners, a Health Management Associates, Inc. (HMA), company, here, and a deeper dive into the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2024 here

What We’re Watching 

Congress is continuing negotiations on the outstanding spending bills, including the one that funds the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Education through September 2024. Lawmakers are working to reach an agreement before the next funding deadline of March 22.  

The administration’s FY 2025 budget proposals are generally being characterized as a blueprint for President Biden’s re-election campaign and, if successful, a policy agenda for his second term. Though Congress has already begun holding hearings on the budget request, members on both sides of the aisle will likely focus on issues that resonate in an election year.  

Regardless of the outcome of the November elections, Congress has an opportunity to address unfinished business during the lame duck session later this year.  

HMA and Leavitt Partners collaborate to monitor legislative and regulatory developments in healthcare and adjacent spaces and to assess the impact of policy changes on the healthcare industry. 

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