Hospital priorities face 'more challenging environment' after House speaker's ouster

The uncertainty surrounding House leadership has created a "more challenging environment" for hospital priorities, America's Essential Hospitals' vice president of legislative affairs, Jason Pray, told Becker's on Oct. 4.

The House voted Oct. 3 to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He is the first speaker to be removed this way, according to The New York Times

Adding to the uncertainty is what it means for funding the government, Mr. Pray said. A continuing resolution passed by Congress funds the government through Nov. 17. 

That stopgap funding bill included a provision delaying Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital cuts. Stopping those cuts has been a top priority for America's Essential Hospitals, an advocacy group. In September, 250 health systems and hospitals signed a letter from the organization asking Congress to halt those cuts. 

The funding cuts, part of the Affordable Care Act, will curb Medicaid DSH funding by $8 billion in fiscal years 2024 through 2027 — a $32 billion reduction total. 

Mr. Pray said the uncertainty "will require that we redouble efforts to keep Congress focused on stopping the $8 billion Medicaid DSH cut and other priorities for our hospitals."

For Congress, the first task is to select the next speaker. Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina is serving as speaker pro tempore, who may oversee the election of the new speaker, the Times reported Oct. 3. 

House Democrats plan to nominate Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York to the speakership, but he is unlikely to win the position as Republicans control the majority, according to the report. Republican Reps. Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio have announced bids for the speakership, the Times reported Oct. 4. Mr. McCarthy said he will not seek the post again. 

Until a new speaker is named, almost all other action in the House will be paused, according to the Times

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