Medicine & Health

From the editor: The clock is ticking on Congress’ agenda

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While Congress has been focused on the COVID-19 crisis since last winter, the Democratic majority’s broader legislative agenda is at risk, with some high-stakes deadlines looming that could disrupt President Joe Biden’s plans, shutter the federal government and even upend the global financial system.

By Oct. 31, House Democrats are expected to vote on the stalled infrastructure bill.

By Dec. 3, lawmakers must act to raise the federal debt ceiling and pass appropriations to prevent the fourth government shutdown since 2014.

How much lawmakers can resolve in time is questionable, given the state of division in the Capitol.

And the 2022 midterm elections are around the corner. The closer it gets to campaign season, the more strident lawmakers will become and the less they will be able to accomplish.

Meanwhile, healthcare leaders await more relief after a flood of emergency funding helped their organizations survive during the pandemic.

Without further legislation, hospitals will continue to endure unpaid bills in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Everyone is waiting to find out whether Congress will finally take action on drug pricing. Hospitals face $9.4 billion in mandatory Medicare reimbursement reductions and all providers are bracing for the last year of payment cuts from the 2013 budget sequestration law. 

So where do lawmakers in Washington stand on these and other healthcare issues? Our congressional supplement aims to offer some insight. We hope this will help inform and guide your policy priorities as well.

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