House, Senate Pass $484 Billion COVID-19 Package, President Trump Signs
Last week, the House passed a COVID-19 spending package, 388-5, which passed the Senate unanimously. On April 24, President Trump signed the spending package that will provide an immediate $321 billion infusion for the Paycheck Protection Program, the small business rescue fund that ran out of money last week. The package also provides another $60 billion in economic disaster loans for small businesses, $75 billion in emergency relief for hospitals and $25 billion for increased coronavirus testing, with $11 billion of that going to states. The spending package is the fourth in a series of coronavirus relief bills passed in Congress in less than two months, totaling $2.7 trillion in federal funds to fight the pandemic.


Whitehouse, Cassidy Ask CMS to Offer ACOs More Relief Amid Pandemic
On April 23, Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) requested that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) extend relief for accountable care organizations (ACOs) due to the COVID-19 pandemic and waive the providers’ losses they might otherwise have to repay. Sen. Cassidy’s office said he is not considering legislation at this point. CMS responded that it is aware of the concerns and will keep looking closely to see where it can take more steps in the coming weeks.


Trump Administration Supports Continuing Public Charge Rule during COVID-19 Pandemic
On April 20, in a filed brief to the Supreme Court, the Trump administration announced that the public charge rule should remain in effect during the coronavirus pandemic. The filing was a response to three states’ requesting the Supreme Court halt the public charge rule during the pandemic, claiming it is keeping immigrants from being tested or treated for the virus. The Trump administration’s brief clarifies that the exemption for COVID-19-related services applies only if the recipient dis-enrolls from Medicaid after receiving the services. Find the Trump administration’s response here.

Read more on healthcare policy in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Washington Healthcare Update.