House and Senate Reach Deal on $900B COVID-19 Relief Package and Omnibus Appropriations Bill; Vote Today

On Dec. 21, the House and Senate reached an agreement on a pandemic rescue measure of $900 billion that will be attached to a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill for the fiscal year, and includes a variety of health provisions. The bill is set to be voted on today.

The COVID-19 relief measure includes $286 billion for direct economic relief for workers and families. This bill provides an additional $300 to all workers receiving unemployment assistance for eleven weeks. This bill also extends the pandemic unemployment assistance program, with expanded coverage to the self-employed gig workers and others in non-tradition employment. The bill maximizes the Pandemic Emergency Compensation Program with an additional 13 weeks of benefits. The deal includes over $284 billion dollars to first forgiveness PPP loans, dedicated set asides for very small businesses and lending through community lenders. Other provisions for small businesses include expanded PPP eligibility for 501c(6) non-profits. The bill also includes $3.5 billion for continued small business administration relief payments and $2 billion for enhancements to small business administration lending. The bill also includes funding for schools, rental assistance, nutritional programs, childcare and broadband.

Healthcare Provisions: Among the healthcare provisions is the No Surprise Act, which ends surprise medical billing. In addition, important public health programs are extended for three years. Medicaid DSH payments will not face cuts for three years. Provisions for Medicaid reporting requirements concerning state Medicaid payment and financing data are similar to the proposed medicaid fiscal accountability rule. The legislation also included Medicare extenders for three years. In addition, there were changes to orphan drug requirements and a requirement for labels to be accurate after a brand drug has left the market and other changes affecting generic drugs. More information will be posted as available.

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