“Minibus 2” Funding Bill Includes HBCU and Healthcare Fixes
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, the House passed bipartisan government funding legislation to delay another government shutdown until December 7, combining a short term discretionary stopgap bill with full discretionary spending for the departments of Defense, Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services. The funding package includes provisions which would provide loan flexibility for struggling Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and address regional disparities in Medicare reimbursement policies. Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) voted for the bipartisan deal when it passed the House.
“Today’s bipartisan funding deal takes important steps towards tackling some of our nation’s biggest challenges and provides needed relief for HBCUs and struggling hospitals here in Alabama’s 7th District,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “For our most vulnerable HBCUs, today’s bill provides a lifeline of financial support, allowing these historic institutions to continue providing students with high quality educational opportunities. For our rural hospitals, this legislation encourages CMS to evaluate how regional disparities in reimbursement policies contribute to the rural hospital closure crisis. For too long, Alabama’s rural hospitals have been short-changed by healthcare policy that rewards hospitals in wealthy states at the expense of hospitals in rural, low-income communities.”
“Additionally, the legislation we passed today provides funding for our troops, increases disaster aid by more than $7 billion in response to Hurricane Florence, and increases research funding for Alabama’s vibrant medical and defense research infrastructure. By making a strong investment in many of our district’s top priorities, today’s bipartisan public investment bill is a win for Alabama. I am proud to have worked with Members on both sides of the aisle to pass this legislation.”
The HBCU provision included in the spending deal which passed on Wednesday allows more than a dozen HBCUs to defer payment for capital financing loans with the Department of Education.
The legislative package directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to take into account large regional disparities in Medicare reimbursements when considering reimbursement reforms. The provision directs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to submit a report to Congress analyzing recommended reforms to address regional disparities.