House committee passes HHS appropriations bill

The House Appropriations Committee yesterday voted 30-22 to approve legislation that would provide $196.5 billion in funding for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education in fiscal year 2021. The bill also appropriates $24.4 billion in emergency spending; and directs the HHS secretary to create guidelines for employer-sponsored health plans to submit annual public compliance reports related to coverage of mental and behavioral health services.

According to a committee summary, the bill would provide $96.4 billion for HHS, $1.5 billion more than the FY 2020 enacted level and $11 billion more than the president’s budget. Specific increases include: $500 million more for the National Institutes of Health; $90 million more for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, including a $25 million increase for the Hospital Preparedness Program; $96 million more for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; $232 million more for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; $157 million more for the Health Resources and Services Administration; and $315 million more for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program would receive $340 million in funding and rural health programs would receive $334 million, including increases for telehealth and rural hospitals. The bill also includes parts of the AHA-supported Social Determinants Accelerator Act (H.R. 4004), with $10 million in planning grants allocated to states to help address social determinants of health for high-need Medicaid patients.

The bill’s emergency appropriations include $5 billion for NIH; $9 billion for CDC; $4.5 billion for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority; and $5 billion for a permanent public health emergency fund. The full House is expected to consider the bill later this month.

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