Health Care Authorizations

The COVID relief bill puts a permanent end to surprise medical billing, finally providing patients with a critical new consumer protection. It also includes a 3 year extension of numerous public health programs, including funding for Community Health Centers, the Special Diabetes Program, address the Medicaid DSH cuts, the Certified Community Behavioral Health Center program and more.

Medicare—Gradually eliminates Medicare copays for certain colorectal cancer screening tests, restores Medicaid coverage to COFA migrants, provides the first expansion of the Medicare GME program in more than 20 years, improves Medicare enrollment processes and eliminates coverage gaps for Medicare beneficiaries, provides new mental health parity requirements, and expands access to rural health care and mental health telehealth services.

COVID-19 FDA and HHS Relief Funding

Food and Drug Administration—$55 million for continued work on FDA efforts to facilitate the development and review, both pre-market and post-market, of medical countermeasures, devices, therapies, and vaccines to combat the coronavirus. In addition, funds will support medical product supply chain monitoring and other public health research and response investments.

Department of Health and Human Services—$73 billion to support public health; research, development, manufacturing, procurement, and distribution of vaccines and therapeutics; diagnostic testing and contact tracing; mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services; child care support; and other activities related to coronavirus, including:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—$8.75 billion to support federal, state, local, territorial and tribal public health agencies to distribute, administer, monitor, and track coronavirus vaccination to ensure broad-based distribution, access, and vaccine coverage, including:

  • $4.5 billion for State, local, Territorial, and Tribal Public Health Departments; and
  •  $300 million for a targeted effort to distribute and administer vaccines to high-risk and underserved populations, including racial and ethnic minority populations and rural communities.

Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response—$22.945 billion to respond to coronavirus, including:

  • $19.695 billion for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) for manufacturing and procurement of vaccines and therapeutics, as well as ancillary supplies necessary for the administration of vaccines and therapeutics; and $3.25 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile.

Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund—$25.4 billion to support testing and contact tracing to effectively monitor and suppress COVID-19, as well as to reimburse for health care related expenses or lost revenue attributable to the coronavirus, including:

  • $22.4 billion for testing, contact tracing, and other activities necessary to effectively monitor and suppress COVID-19, including $2.5 billion for a targeted effort to improve testing capabilities and contact tracing in high-risk and underserved populations, including racial and ethnic minority populations and rural communities; and
  • $3 billion in additional grants for hospital and health care providers to be reimbursed for health care related expenses or lost revenue directly attributable to the public health emergency resulting from coronavirus, along with direction to allocate not less than 85 percent of unobligated funds in the Provider Relief Fund through an application-based portal to reimburse health care providers for financial losses incurred in 2020.

National Institutes of Health—$1.25 billion to support research and clinical trials related to the long-term effects of COVID-19, as well as continued support for Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics for COVID-19.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—$4.25 billion to provide increased mental health and substance abuse services and support, including:

  • $1.65 billion for the Substance Abuse and Prevention Treatment Block Grant;
  • $1.65 billion for the Mental Health Services Block Grant;
  • $600 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics;
  • $50 million for suicide prevention programs;
  • $50 million for Project AWARE to support school-based mental health for children;
  • $240 million for emergency grants to States; and
  • $10 million for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network;
  • Not less than $125 million of funds provided to SAMHSA must be allocated to tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian health organizations, or health service providers to tribes across a variety of programs.

Administration for Children and Families—$10.25 billion to support early childhood programs and child care providers through:

  • $10 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grants to provide immediate assistance to child care providers; and
  • $250 million for Head Start.

Administration for Community Living—$100 million to address abuse, neglect, and exploitation of the elderly, including adult protective service and long-term care ombudsman activities.