LIMITED TIME BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR AND JANUARY 19
First, welcome back from what was hopefully a wonderful and restful Thanksgiving break.
Although this year will not entail a year-end government funding package, we are still off to a busy start. Several major items are a priority to Congress in the coming weeks. These include funding for Israel, funding for Ukraine and passing the annual defense authorization bill (NDAA). Of note, none of these items are healthcare related. It is unlikely that major healthcare legislation will pass prior to the end of the year. It is also the aim of Congress to pass all 12 of the annual appropriations bills by January 19, 2024, but that seems increasingly unlikely given the other congressional priorities and the difficulties both bodies have faced in trying to move the remaining appropriations bills forward.
This then pushes other items, such as healthcare priorities, to the January 19, 2024, deadline. As a reminder, government funding expires on January 19 for four appropriations bills, and that is also the package to which the health extenders are attached. Thus, the January 19 package is the likely target for any healthcare agenda items to be enacted. These healthcare policies include, but are not limited to, pharmacy benefit manager reform and mental health policies, increased transparency, mitigation of pending Medicare physician payment cuts and continuation of the Alternative Payment Model bonuses. It will be an interesting few weeks to watch, after which we may be able to better assess what is possible.
And remember, very soon we are heading into an election year, when everything will become centered around that. Additionally, every week we are hearing about more Members of Congress not seeking re-election. So gear up, because things will only get busier.