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McDermottPlus Check-Up: August 20, 2021

This Week’s Dose

The House is set to return from recess for a procedural vote on three major legislative measures. Biden requires vaccines for nursing home workers and announces boosters in September.


Speaker Pelosi Charted Out New Plan for Moving Infrastructure Packages

Last week, on the heels of passing a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, the Senate advanced the $3.5 trillion FY 2022 budget resolution for the partisan “human infrastructure package” on a party-line vote. The budget resolution is the framework that outlines the spending and savings numbers that the various House and Senate Committees are required to work within to develop the partisan “human infrastructure” legislation. For months, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) maintained that she would not hold a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill in the House until the Senate had also passed the partisan human infrastructure legislation to guarantee that Democratic priorities on childcare, education and healthcare were addressed. However, a group of nine moderate House Democrats complicated the Speaker’s strategy last week when they issued a statement that they would not vote on the partisan budget resolution until the House addressed the bipartisan infrastructure bill. The Speaker would be right to worry that if the bipartisan infrastructure bill is enacted, she and Senator Schumer will lose leverage viewed as necessary to advance the much bigger partisan package. With hardly any votes to spare, Speaker Pelosi has asked the House Committee on Rules to assess a new strategy using procedural votes to align the differences across her party. The Rules Committee will meet at 11:00 a.m. on Monday to make recommendations that could set up the House to have a full vote Tuesday on the partisan budget resolution. The Speaker is not expected to bring a vote for the bipartisan infrastructure package until significant progress is made on human infrastructure, which will likely not be until later this fall.


Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Extended Window for Post-Public Health Emergency (PHE) Medicaid Eligibility Redeterminations

Medicaid and CHIP enrollment surged during the COVID-19 pandemic as Congress passed legislative provisions aimed at ensuring individuals could access and retain health insurance. These provisions included continuous eligibility requirements that prevented individuals from losing coverage through the duration of the PHE. Following a push from Medicaid advocates, a letter from Daniel Tsai, Director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, announced that states would now have up to 12 months to reassess their Medicaid enrollees for ongoing eligibility following the end of the PHE. This policy doubles the initial six-month window granted by the Trump Administration and seeks to support states and millions of new enrollees.

Biden Administration Mandated COVID-19 Vaccines for Nursing Homes and Recommended Boosters

As public health officials learn more about the Delta variant and the number of COVID-19 cases continue to increase, the Biden Administration announced this week that the Department of Health and Human Services would be issuing regulations that would condition nursing home participation in Medicare and Medicaid on having workers vaccinated. Nursing homes were hit especially hard by COVID-19 and their workforce represents about 1.6 million individuals, according to a White House fact sheet on the new vaccine policies. However, these facilities already struggle with staffing, and industry members are concerned this will exacerbate the existing labor shortages.

The nursing home mandate comes alongside an announcement that booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine will be available beginning September 20. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet soon to review the information and make a final recommendation on the administration of boosters. The White House stated that vaccine supply is not an issue for the booster shots and that it will continue to support global vaccine donations. The FDA has not yet granted full approval to any COVID-19 vaccine, though the agency is expected to do so for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in early September.

Quick Hits

Next Week’s Diagnosis

The House returns next week to vote on a rule to advance the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

© 2022 McDermott Will & EmeryNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 232

About this Author

Aaron Badida Healthcare Attorney McDermott

Aaron leverages a health-focused legal background with research and writing expertise to help clients analyze the impact of, and respond to, pending regulatory and legislative actions.

Aaron works with clients to provide data-driven insights to inform stakeholder comments on proposed regulations and tracks regulatory developments to ensure clients are engaged and informed on the policy matters that impact their businesses. He is also experienced in assessing Medicare payment regulations, as well as regulations from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Centers for...

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Mara McDermott, McDermott Law Firm, Washington DC, HealthCare Law Executive

Mara is an accomplished health care executive with a deep understanding of federal health care law and policy, including delivery system reform, physician payment and Medicare payment models.

Most recently Mara served as the senior vice president of federal affairs at America’s Physician Groups (formerly the California Association of Physician Groups, CAPG), a professional association representing medical groups and independent practice associations practicing in capitated, coordinated care models. As head of the Washington, DC, office, Mara...

Kristen O’Brien Healthcare Executive McDermott Consulting

Kristen O’Brien is an accomplished healthcare executive with a deep understanding of regulatory advocacy and healthcare policy efforts.

Kristen offers a strong background and a keen eye for solutions to barriers and challenges impacting healthcare clients. With more than 10 years of experience, her work focuses on implementing new laws through the rulemaking process, as well as working with relevant agency officials to develop and improve agency guidance.

Kristen recently served as Principal of the Health Industry Policy and Regulatory Practice Group at a law and lobbying...

Katie Waldo Healthcare Attorney

Katie is an experienced government relations strategist who helps clients navigate the complex issues surrounding Medicare, Medicaid and the healthcare marketplace.

Katie works with clients to represent their needs before the US Congress and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its agencies by relying on extensive experience as a policy advisor on the Medicaid and Medicare programs, as well as the 340B program and other aspects of the Public Health Service Act. She anticipates the effects of state and federal policymaking on issues impacting their businesses and...

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