Scoop: Health riders left out of minibus

March 18, 2024 8:14 am

Health care riders addressing PBM reforms and hospital transparency are due to be left out of the next government funding bill after congressional leadership quashed a committee-led effort to add them to the package, sources said.

Why it matters: It punts bipartisan provisions that health committees in both chambers have worked on for months to a lame duck session.

  • The chairs and ranking members of health committees had reached an 11th-hour deal, but Senate and House leaders were adamant about keeping the minibus free of more potential stumbling blocks with a March 22 deadline approaching.

What they’re saying: “Republicans do not want the appropriations bills to become an omnibus and there was no opportunity for Democrats to include a health package on this vehicle, regardless of the contents of this package,” said a leadership aide briefed on the negotiations.

Yes, but: A complicating factor for reviving the deal is Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s objections to a provision that would require hospital outpatient departments to have unique Medicare identifier numbers. It would generate savings on what critics call “dishonest billing” by hospitals.

  • New York Democrats have opposed this provision before because New York hospitals contend it’s burdensome.

What’s next: Bill text for the appropriations funding deal could be released as soon as tomorrow.