WASHINGTON – FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn released the following statement as Congress nears a vote on year-end legislation that addresses government funding and COVID-19:
“It is reassuring that Congress has set in motion a crucially important response to the health and economic crisis created by COVID-19.
“This legislative package includes vital resources for the public health needs of the nation. At the top of that list is additional funding for vaccine development and distribution, testing, and tracing – keys to protecting Americans, defeating this virus and getting our lives back to normal.
“The bill throws a lifeline to caregivers by continuing the pause in the two percent Medicare sequester, and making adjustments to buffer the impact of an ill-conceived change in physician payments during a pandemic. It also includes an important delay of harmful Medicaid cuts for hospitals, which are part of the safety net for our most vulnerable patients. With all the advances in the legislation, it falls short on funding for the provider relief fund and hopefully that can be revisited next year.
“Additionally, this bipartisan legislation assures that patients never again have to worry about receiving a surprise medical bill. The deal defines and limits patient cost sharing, while allowing for payment disputes between payors and providers to be settled reasonably – without arbitrary rate setting.
“Congress has met this moment and should be commended for reaching a bipartisan compromise that is mission critical for millions of Americans in the midst of the pandemic.”